These Present Troubles

Jesus is clearly a champion of the poor, hungry and needy. Yet when a woman pours a year’s salary worth of perfume on him, and the disciples criticize this move as being too extravagant (“That should have been sold and the money given the poor”), Jesus says this: “You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” (John 12:8)

Jesus isn’t being callous and uncaring about the poor. He’s being realistic. This world is always going to have problems. There will always be trouble. You’ll always have something that needs fixing. Don’t use that as an excuse not to worship God.

I have several issues that I’ve been presenting to God repeatedly for a couple years, basically crying and saying ‘fix it!’

But God hasn’t snapped his fingers and made all the issues go away. What I have come to realize is that if God solves my current problems, I’ll just end up having different ones.

He wants me to seek him, follow him, worship him where I am. Israel wasn’t told to worship God once they got to the promised land. They were called to do it in the desert, before they ever got their promised inheritance.

If, no - check that, WHEN we have problems; health, money, relationships, school, career - we can’t get to the attitude that once God makes it better, we’ll really do a better job of loving him and living for him.

Jesus said that it’s okay, not to ignore the poor or forget about them, but to prioritize them. God is more important that our present troubles. We can lavish our love and affections on him, even from a place of brokenness and imperfections. Heck, what could be better than genuine worship in the midst of situations that try to rob you of your passion?

Jesus even says in John 16:33 that we are going to have trouble in this world. But that we should take heart, be encouraged. Because he is greater, and it’s all going to be okay in the final analysis.

God cares for the poor, desperate and needy; and he wants us to care as well. But if we are going to help restore this world, we’ve got to keep our priorities straight.

We need not feel guilty about giving God the best of us.