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Saying No to Condescension

We’re continuing our book club discussion of The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns. If you have a response post this week, add it at the end of this post. Also be sure to head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog. I am on a plane headed to Oklahoma for a leaders conference so I may not respond quickly, but I will respond, I promise! I so appreciate everyone who shares their insights on each chapter. Thank you!

Poverty is a four-letter word

Richard Stearns wrote that as one of the sub-headings in this chapter and I think it’s profoundly important. God takes poverty and caring for the poor seriously. The voice of people overly concerned with bad words being spoken on TV sometimes seem louder than those are a voice for the downtrodden and hopeless. Which four-letter word is going to cause more damage?

In all these posts, I realize I’m basically saying the same things. There is no guilt or condemnation to it and I would never presume to tell you what you should do. My only plea is that we all do something. There are more than a few places where those few extra dollars could be put to extremely good use (and that’s not precluding your local church where they may have missions programs going on).

Besides the scourge of indifference, we can certainly get judgmental as if everyone who is poor deserves it. They should work harder or make different choices, we sometimes think. The reality is we don’t know the devastation that exists in many parts of the world through sickness and disease as well as social and cultural factors. Hard work and ‘better’ choices don’t mean a lot when lack of opportunities and disease rule the day.

Jesus was never condescending to the poor and needy. His compassion went against the social norms of the day. Many in that time believed God was punishing the diseased and poor (sound familiar?). Then and now, God makes it abundantly clear in His word that we are to care for those in need.

Jesus didn’t require hoop-jumping. He simply showed up, offered what He had, and lives were changed forever as a result.

To some who don’t know me as well I may be coming out of the charismatic closet here, but I truly believe there is a spirit of poverty. It entrenches itself into cultures and generations. The only way to combat it as the enemy it is, is with the Spirit of Grace. That’s how God did it.

Grace gives. It’s lavish. It’s life-changing. It’s not stingy and stodgy. It’s cheerful and boisterous in its compassion. It does not withhold the good that it can do.

I’m tired of condescension, indifference, and silly crusades when there are more important matters. I want grace and I want to express that grace. Like it or not, part of that is inextricably tied to how we treat the poor.

10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. –2 Corinthians 9:10-13

Have you ever held a condescending attitude about the poor here or ‘out there’? Do you see grace tied to our giving and helping or have you viewed it as separate? Can’t wait to hear your thoughts.


  1. I agree Jason, we are all saying the same message over and over (of course it needs to be said). The point is this…there are people who need help and we should help them. How God chooses to use us to do so can be a varied as the need. I also know we can’t use a lack of resources as an excuse. In all honesty, with God there is no lack of resources. Thanks Bro’

    • You’re right and we just keep saying it until the fullness of it is expressed. Thanks Jay.

  2. AMEN to you and Jay both!

    On the way to work this morning I realized that I spend more every month taking care of two DOGS than is needed to take care of a child in an impoverished country. That does not even take into consideration all the money we spend on entertainment and frills…

    I can say that my wife and I are very generous when confronted with the needs of others… but I cannot say we are doing all that we can and should be doing.

    For too long we have glossed over the repeated instruction in scripture to reach out, care for, and lift up those who are less privileged, hurting, in need, and oppressed.

    Christianity is not a Sunday Activity, it’s a daily lifestyle.

    Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. ~ 1 John 2:6
    Dusty Rayburn recently posted..BD-THiOG Not Just a NumberMy Profile

    • It’s so amazing how blessed we are and when we experience the gratitude for so many blessings, it causes to respon in compassion ane caring for others. Love your thoughts, Dusty. I agree that there is more to do by His grace.

  3. I totally agree with you, Jason. My immediate impulse was to respond that I had never been condescending about the poor and while that is mostly true, I have to admit that it’s not totally true.

    Several years ago, I worked with the outreach team in the church I attended. As part of that team, I went into the poorest parts of the city. And what I saw was that while there are people that are there because they have no choice, there are also people there because they make bad choices or are careless or foolish stewards of what they’ve been given. This kind of leads me to a few points.

    First of all, Jesus didn’t just send us to help the ones we find worthy. He called us to help ALL WHO HAVE A NEED. That means that we don’t get to judge, we just get to serve.

    Second of all, the ones who have made bad choices or been foolish stewards need MORE care than the ones who just have physical needs. They require more of an investment--time and energy and emotion and prayer.

    I just need to learn to step out of the ‘judgment zone’ and out of my selfishness and make that investment.

    • So true, Sarah. Jesus responded to people and needs, not the circumstances that got them wherever they were. Good points. Thank you.

  4. Condescension has no place in the Christian’s life jason. You nailed it big time! We look “down” not out of being better but out of humility. Thanks for the post.
    bill (cycleguy) recently posted..The Great AdventureMy Profile

    • May we all get to that place through his grace. What an amazing transformation that would bring to the world! Thanks Bill.

  5. I don’t know if you remember the “Pimp this Bum” campaign here or my church’s involvement with it, but I think it was a perfect example of supposed well meaning folks raising money to help get someone off the streets while at the same time degrading him and inviting others to do the same via their viral ad campaign (which was primarily meant to promote their ad agency). Tim (the subject of the campaign) did get off the streets and into a drug treatment program. I hope he’s doing well. But as my friend Koffijah said, “How we see someone is half of how we love them.” If you see people as victims or somehow less human, then you’re not seeing them as God does, and I don’t think the ends justifiy the means in many cases, because motivation matters--it reveals your heart.
    katdish recently posted..The picture inside the picture RepostMy Profile

    • I do remember all that. I think we have a higher responsibility as Christians to treat people as God would in proper love and respect. You make excellent points. Thanks Kat.

  6. Amen Jason! This is something that God has been challenging my wife and I in lately. In response, we have chosen to donate all the money we would have used for Christmas gifts to World Vision. I am not saying that to brag or to put pressure on other people to do the same. This has been God’s challenge to us.
    Kevin Martineau recently posted..Who takes care of the pastor when they are hurtingMy Profile

    • I know your heart, Kevin. I know you’re not bragging, you’re sharing something important. That’s amazing! Thank you.

  7. “Jesus didn’t require hoop-jumping.” I like that. So true. I’m leading a small group through some Crazy Love stuff and that idea came up recently. Our lives really are valued so much by how we treat the weakest people around us. Good stuff you’ve got here.

    • Thank you. I appreciate it!


  1. Jay Cookingham - Saying No to Condescension /cc @feedly
  2. Jason Stasyszen - New Blog Post: Saying No to Condescension
  3. Sarah Salter - RT @br8kthru New Blog Post: Saying No to Condescension
  4. Strive for Maturity - RT @br8kthru: Saying No to Condescension
  5. Jason Stasyszen - RT @sarahmsalter: RT @br8kthru New Blog Post: Saying No to Condescension <<thank you Sarah
  6. Jason Stasyszen - RT @strivematurity: RT @br8kthru: Saying No to Condescension <<thanks David
  7. Glynn Young - Saying No to Condescension, new post by @br8kthru at Connecting to Impact.
  8. Jason Stasyszen - RT @gyoung9751: Saying No to Condescension, new post by @br8kthru at Connecting to Impact. <<thanks Glynn.
  9. Mike Ellis - RT @KevinMartineau: RT @br8kthru: Saying No to Condescension
  10. Jason Stasyszen - RT @TheMikeEllis: RT @KevinMartineau: RT @br8kthru: Saying No to Condescension <<thank you both! Be blessed. :)
  11. Mike Ellis - Got Grace? Show me how you treat the poor, needy and downtrodden
  12. Mike Ellis - Jesus was never condescending to the poor and needy
  13. Mike Ellis - Grace gives. It’s lavish. It’s life-changing. It’s not stingy and stodgy @br8kthru
  14. Mike Ellis - Grace gives. It’s lavish. It’s life-changing. It’s not stingy and stodgy @br8kthru
  15. br8kthru - RT @TheMikeEllis: Grace gives. It’s lavish. It’s life-changing. It’s not stingy and stodgy <<appreciate it, Mike.
  16. Jason Stasyszen - Previously on Connecting to Impact: Saying No to Condescension #archives
  17. Project Mathetes - RT @br8kthru: Previously on Connecting to Impact: Saying No to Condescension #archives
  18. Jason Stasyszen - Previously on Connecting to Impact: Saying No to Condescension #archives

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