Be Ready to Help the Poor
What thoughts come to mind when you see a person begging on a street? “Get a job”? “I can’t give him money because he’ll only buy alcohol”? “The Bible says if a man does not work, he should not eat”? All of these are common responses, but are these the right responses?
What thoughts come to mind when you hear news stories about poor families on government assistance? Does scripture come to mind, or political positions? Are we concerned about the plight of their children, or silently condemn the adults for not becoming more educated? Does the daily news roundup make us angry about tax dollars or do we become burdened over hurting people?
The Bible and the poor
The Bible has a lot to say about helping the poor. The ancient Israelites were to cancel debts every seven years (Deut. 15:7-11), vineyard owners were to leave grapes for the poor during harvest time (Lev. 19:10), Jesus preached to the poor (Luke 4:18), affirmed helping the poor (Matt. 26:11), and the early church received offerings for the poor (2 Corinthians 8:3, 4). The kingdom of God is built on the principle of helping others.
Let me tell you a story
This past summer, I made a trip to the Texas border. This trip reminded me of the great need to help the poor in every way. Whether people are immigrants or already living here, we need to help them. I also preached a sermon on the Bible and immigration which may give you some insights not only on immigration, but also actions toward the poor.
Our own Cross Church ministry, Compassion Center, is committed to not only minister to the poor, but also the immigrant. We believe it is very important to live out our faith in this way.
Generosity and giving are matters of the heart and hands
Generosity is a matter of the heart. Giving is a matter of our hands. We need both. Chip Ingram writes in Bible Studies for Life, “The heart has everything to do with attitude, and the hand has everything to do with action. The heart is about belief, and the hand is about behavior.”1 This is absolutely correct. Heart and hand must be connected when helping the poor is concerned.
Sometimes we do “good deeds” to curry favor with people. We “give” in order to get them to notice us, or give us something in return. But we need to give with no expectation of a return gift. This is the true indicator of a generous heart.
Giving is action
In the story of the Good Samaritan2, the traveler who finds a beaten man on the side of the road, the Samaritan uses his own resources to aid the wounded man. He provides oil from his own flask, and secures lodging at his own expense. He even promised the innkeeper to reimburse any extra expense the man incurred. His generous heart and giving hand likely saved the man’s life.
When we give, we exhibit the character of God who “gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.”
We are never more like God than when we give. Give to the poor.
1– Bible Studies for Life, Ready, Chip Ingram
2– Luke 10:30-37
3– John 3:16, HCSB