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good news.” They want to see the good news in action. The church doesn’t hold revival meetings and call it a day — we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, dig wells, and staff medical clinics. Social action isn’t an optional part of evangelism; it is evangelism. This is an important correction to the overspirituality that dominated evangelical Christianity just a generation ago. But the both/and of holistic mission still misses the heart of Jesus if we don’t see that the church needs the poor as much as the poor need the church. Jesus didn’t embrace the poor only because he pitied them or because he knew he had the resources to help them. Jesus embraced the poor because they were rushing into the kingdom ahead of the scribes and Pharisees — those who called themselves God’s people. Jesus welcomed people who knew poverty because they were ready to receive what he had to offer. Religious people, he said, could learn something from them. Our spiritual lives are linked to the material conditions of our life. When we feel like we don’t need much materially, we often have trouble remembering why we need God. We comfortable Americans can go through an entire day without thinking of God. But Jesus gave the poor more than food to eat and relief from their sickness. He restored them to God’s beloved community.

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