Wednesday Bookclub: Befriend, Chapters 13 & 14

Befriend, Chapter 13: Befriend the Poor and Empty-Handed & Chapter 14: Befriend the Other Race

This week we are discussing chapters 13 & 14 of our bookclub book, Befriend, by Scott Sauls. Even if you haven’t read the material or didn’t participate last week, please don’t hesitate to share your heart! This is how it works: I’ll post some initial thoughts and recap some of Saul’s points, but then I will post Sauls’ questions in the comments section. If you see a question you want to answer, simply reply to the question. And if you want to reply to someone else’s comment, please do! Or, if you want to ask your own question or start a new talking point, just create an original comment that isn’t a reply to anyone else’s. Make sure you check back throughout the week in case someone has posted on your comment or asked you a question.

Ground rules: This is meant to be an encouraging, redemptive conversation. Please communicate with kindness and grace.

Chapter 13 is titled, Befriend the Poor and Empty-Handed. I followed Pastor Sauls on Facebook, so I wasn’t surprised by this chapter—I know of his heart for the poor and unfortunate. I love how he unpacks the truth behind Martin Luthers thought, We are all beggars, this is true, with statistics about children being born into poverty and their unlikelyhood of ever going to college simply because of the lot they’re given—their parents’ focus is on survival and finding money for the next meal, not on PSAT prep and college essays. He uses analogies about how we fault folks for being poor, just as we can’t help someone for being born with one leg and being unable to keep up in a race for people with two legs. I like the analogy he uses about how those of us in the middle class were dealt a hand with four aces, but the poor were dealt only two aces, so their chances of winning the hand are slim. And, by the way, we aren’t the dealer. All of this has helped me understand the biblical mandate of helping the poor freely and not begrudgingly. Pastor Sauls has been instrumental in helping me form a biblical worldview regarding loving the poor and those who happen to not be as fortunate as I materialistically.

But here’s the deal that that Bible points out and that Sauls reminds us of—the poor are blessed. THE POOR ARE BLESSED! Those of us living in plenty have so many distractions and so many reasons to forget how benevolent God is and how to be grateful. We never worry where our next meal is coming from, so we forget that we need to express gratitude. The security of God’s love feels more and more distant as we feel the security of our material belongings and social media and privilege and money. Etcetera. So while, as the Bible says, we need to befriend and help the poor—yes!—we also will benefit from those who are poor in spirit, those who remember to be grateful, those who lean into Jesus because they remember their need for him. We need these friends in our lives to remind us of our need for Jesus.

Chapter 14 is Befriend the Other Race. This chapter was extra exciting to me, because this is a topic I want to learn more about. But as a white woman and a native resident of Colorado (a state a popular sitcom touts as an imaginary place white people made up…), I am hesitant to even attempt to articulate my own experience about this issue, which is not an issue to people of color, as a friend pointed out to Sauls—it’s their whole lives. Instead, I will simply implore you to read this chapter with an open heart. You will be challenged and you will be blessed. And I pray you will be encouraged.