Ah, the poor— you lucky dogs!
Because you are the owners of God’s kingdom.
How lucky are those who are presently hungry—
because God will make sure you have your fill.
How lucky are those who weep in this life—
because God will make you laugh.
How lucky are you, my disciples, when people hate you.
You are fortunate when they won’t have anything to do with you,
when they call you names and tear down your reputation.
When that happens— have a party! Jump for joy!
Because you are lined up with great things from God.
Because, you see, this is the way their type have always treated God’s prophets.
(Paraphrase of Luke 6: 20-24)
To Get Lucky Like A Dog…You’ve Got to Get Treated Like One
When Jesus spoke these words in Luke 6, it says that he was speaking to his disciples. These are his students who memorized his sayings and spoke his message to the populace around. Some of these folks were sincere in following Jesus, while some were in the business for the prestige of being close to Jesus, of using his name to push their own agenda. Here, we see that Jesus fully recognizes that some of his disciples he fully approved of, while others he felt were compromisers. And the compromisers would receive none of the blessings.
The true disciples, say Jesus, are the anawim— the poor, the humble, the humiliated, the outcast. They are the ones who, as a result of preaching the gospel that Jesus gave them, end up in poverty, in hunger, in sorrow and completely disregarded. These are the true followers of Jesus, the true recipients of the kingdom of God.
The core of the church are the poor of the church. The needy, the desperate, the vulnerable, the beggars, the unviable, the set aside, the put down, the persecuted, the avoided, the shambles, the whispered-about, the isolated, the unworthy, the rejected– these disciples are what the church is all about. If the church cannot sincerely say, “We are the poor, the outcast”, then it is not Jesus’ church. This doesn’t mean that other disciples aren’t important. The poor and outcast need their supporters, and those who stand with and help the poor of Jesus are just as much a part of the church as the poor themselves. But without that core poor, without the persecuted heart of the church, it is not the body of Jesus.
Because Jesus was poor. Jesus was homeless. Jesus was rejected. And if we are following Him, then we will be treated like Him.