David Platt on Christian responsibility to the poor

Collin Hansen, of Christianity Today, recently interviewed David Platt, pastor of the Church at Brooks Hills in Birmingham, Alabama. When asked about the implications of God’s Word in people’s lives, Dr. Platt answered:

A year ago this time, I hit a crisis of belief. I started looking at what the gospel teaches and the Word teaches about the poor. All throughout Scripture, God measures the integrity of his people’s faith by their concern for the poor. And he has strong words on this subject. I asked myself, Do I really believe the Word? I preach it, I love it, I memorize it, and I study it, but am I really willing to submit my life to it in such a way that I reorient how I live my life in Birmingham to have deep compassion for the poor? This process overflowed into my preaching. As we studied the Rich Young Ruler or Luke 16 and saw concern for the poor all over Scripture, I said, “We are ignoring the poor with the way we’re living in Birmingham.

If we believe the gospel, then our opulent living compared to the rest of the world does not make sense. We need to make major changes, individually, in our families, with our houses, cars, and stuff.” People would not say they wanted to resist the Word, but that message created all sorts of stirring. That’s where the Word is attacking a core issue in our culture. I’m not advocating legalistic standards, but what we’ve seen in the Word is that if Christ is in us, then our lives do not make a lot of sense in this area.

There are 16,000 children who will die today due to starvation or preventable disease. We need to answer for why we’re spending so much on our homes and stuff. My wife and I put our house on the market and began making adjustments. Others have been doing the same. One wealthy member in our faith family, while we were studying the Rich Young Ruler, told me I’m nuts. But then he said, “I think you’re right. This is exactly what the Word teaches.” With tears in his eyes, he said, “I have reached the conclusion that I’m never going to stand before God and hear him tell me, ‘I wish you had kept more for yourself.'” Now he’s selling his house to invest in needs around the world.

Read the full article: ‘The Word Does the Work’

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