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Jesus did say, "The poor will always be with you.' … but what if He did not mean "There will always be poor people" ..? But rather meant "YOU will always have poor people with YOU" ..? In other words, those who follow Jesus were marked by always being with the poor and the poor with them. I don't think .. when the 'sheep and goats' judgment comes, that He is going to say "I was hungry and you gave to United Way. I was naked and you gave to the Salvation Army" …. All those things do is insulate us FROM the poor and help salve our conscience so we feel like we have done something. Yes .. giving to charities helps feed and clothe people. But there is never community that comes out of it. We can go back to our air-conditioned and centrally heated houses in our SUV's while never having had a face-to-face encounter with the poor. So my question is… what if the Lord envisioned the Church as being filled with the poor? Interacting with the poor .. each member doing so? Living in some kind of community with the poor? Having them always with us? Different note: A Friend (name edited by Archie) was preaching in a huge Church in the west last month. She was telling us about how lavish it was .. how the seats for the Apostles and Prophets were so plush .. all up front .. and how the poor people were shuffled to the back of the huge building where they wouldn't bother anyone. When she got up to speak she invited all the poor to come sit in the Apostles and Prophets seats and when they were full she had the rest of the poor sit on the floor in front of the Church while she preached walking among them. She said she doubted she would get invited back. Blessings my friend ..I look forward to meeting you face to face in Austin in the near future. Jim