(Deuteronomy 15:7-11) 7 If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. 8 Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need. 9 Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward the needy among your fellow Israelites and give them nothing. They may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. 10 Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. 11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.
If you work hard, and you still have very little, it can be truly difficult to give. Generosity is not always a natural tendency. It’s hard to let go of hard-earned money and resources, especially when our society tells us that the under-privileged are constantly looking for a handout.
However, beyond what any media plays into our minds, past all of our fears and misgivings about the intentions of people who say they are in need, we are called to love. Does love not encompass provision and care in times of hardship? We are so quick to jump up and fix a meal for our church family member who is sick or the family who has just had a baby. We readily make pies, cakes, casseroles and whatever else is needed for the church potluck. We support fundraisers for the youth group and children’s department, and we give toward projects that better our facilities. Please understand…these things are wonderful and we should continue to support such efforts, but I am also suggesting that it should be just as easy for us to respond to the need of a stranger.
We can do more. I can do more.
In Jefferson County Public Schools alone, there are approximately 7,000 homeless students. These students rely on SCHOOL to have shelter and food throughout the day. They are the children who never miss a day because they have the guarantee of a full belly and safety. I’m sorry, but when did this become the responsibility of the government? Do we dare even wonder why so many look down on the church when, in the grand scheme of it all, we do so little?
Why do you think so many people were willing to listen to Christ, follow Him, face persecution possibly unto death for Him, and loved Him without question or condition? It wasn’t because of a beautiful facility He was able to speak in, or because He put on fun social events…it was because He responded to the needs of people who were cast away. He healed, fed, loved and nurtured the hurt, sick and poor people. He responded. If we are to truly be His hands and feet, His representation, His church, then we have to do better. We can’t worry any longer about tomorrow. Our faith tells us that tomorrow will worry about itself.
Matthew 6: 38 says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
This passage always makes me think about how when you are using brown sugar in a recipe and you have to pack it down into the measuring cup. When you give, maybe what you are able to do only amounts to a cup of plain sugar, but if you give it in love and in good faith, expecting the best, God returns that cup with a packed down double blessing. The sweetness of what He has ready to give to us, we can’t possibly understand.
And remember…all that you’ve acquired, or hope to obtain…it’s all just stuff that you can’t take with you when you’re gone…stuff that was never truly yours to begin with…so you might as well give a little…or a lot…if you dare.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to have open hands and a softer heart when it comes to those in need. Give me the opportunity and desire to respond accordingly. I know that You will never leave me forsaken, as I endeavor to do Your work. Amen.