Immediately following His wilderness journey of temptations, Jesus beings His Galilean ministry by announcing that He has come to preach good news to the poor. Since then, believers have interpreted these to be the poor in a political and economic sense. Others have seen these to be the poor in spirit.
The distinction seems to be a stumbling block for many who are seeking to live out their Christian faith. Are we instruments of God's gospel to the economically poor or the spiritually poor?
John Stott addresses the question this way: "The only way to resolve this dilemma is to say that both are correct, since Jesus taught both. The poor in the Old Testament are both the humble poor who cry to God for mercy and the oppressed poor who need to be liberated. Further, 'the gospel comes as good news to both. The spiritualy poor, who...humble themselves before God, receive by faith the free gift of salvation...The materially poor and powerless find in addition a new dignity as God's children, and the love of brothers and sisters, who will struggle with them for their liberation from everything which demeans and oppresses them.'"
Christ followers in the workplace labor beside both the materially poor and the spiritually poor. We have good news for both. Our lives can demonstrate God's unconditional love to both. Living out our faith doesn't mean choosing to feed the poor or to preach the gospel of salvation. It means doing both. Our Christian faith in the workplace can change eternity for those around us...and eternity begins with their material lives today.