If you help the poor, you are lending to the LORD–and he will repay you! Proverbs 19:17
Most of us think of giving to the poor right about the end of the year—whether it’s serving at a shelter, tossing a toy in the Toys for Tot’s box, or making a year-end tax deductible donation to a reputable charity. Today, I want to challenge you to think about giving all year long.
God created and calls us to give. Jesus tells us that whatever we do for the “least of these” we do for our King. (Matthew 25:40). I am a representative of Christ here on this earth and whatever I do for the poor, I do for the Lord.
But what does it mean to do for the least of these—the poor, less fortunate? If you look through different translations of today’s scripture, you will see “help” means to have pity on, to be gracious and show mercy. It means to be kind and generous towards them and their needs.
As we read further on in today’s scripture, I think the author of Proverbs, Solomon, makes a very profound statement. Solomon, the richest and wisest king (1 Kings 10:23), mentions that when we give to the poor, we are actually lending to God, and God-Himself will repay us.
I can’t help but think—did Solomon make a living out of his giving?
Although we must not expect to get anything back for our gifts—not even a simple thank you—according to today’s verse, we can consider our actions as a loan to the Lord. Actions that come out of pure sympathy and with a compassionate heart.
Doing the will of God regarding the poor should not be just a task to check off your list and then look for the reward. It’s an opportunity for us to express our trust in God and watch as He moves in us when we reach out to the poor.
I had that amazing opportunity last fall when I visited Open Arms, a daycare that prevents child abandonment and helps keep families together. As soon as I arrived, I sensed the Holy Spirit working deep within my soul. I felt God enlarging my heart. During that trip, I recognized how near and dear the poor are to God’s heart so shouldn’t they be to mine as well?
As the trip came to a close, I knew my life would never be the same. As the tears streamed down my warm cheeks, I silently told Him, “I’m all in, Lord, all in.” I began to give, pray, and fast for the “least of these” and God began to move powerfully in my life because of my desire to go where love is needed.
Today’s verse teaches me that by giving to the ministry and their leaders, it is as if I am actually lending to God.
I haven’t always had a generous and giving heart. Both of my parents immigrated here from Holland and lived through some pretty tough times. We were raised to be “Dutch” and we have been known for being tight and thrifty (which is not a bad thing!). But to be honest, I’ve been stingy and tight-fisted when it comes to money. But God has worked in my heart and reminded me enough times lately that it’s more blessed to give than receive.
God moves in mighty ways when we reach out to help the “least of these”—He moves through our own lives and directly into theirs.
I believe God call has called me to the Open Arms ministry for a reason. Although He hasn’t revealed it completely to me, I am trusting Him and His timing. I’m trying to be as obedient as I can to His calling. You may not be called to walk this journey with me, and that’s okay. This post is not about you giving to this ministry. It’s simply about giving. It may be that God is calling you a different ministry—possibly your own. Each of us is called to ministry in our families, churches, and neighborhoods. Maybe He is asking you to start your own daycare right in your own city to help the less fortunate. Perhaps He has called you to a completely different country, to completely different poor people.
No matter where, what, or how God is calling us, our obedience honors Him. He will move in our hearts and reward our lives because we care for them.
God will move in the life that focuses on the poor.
Today’s scripture promises us that we can be assured that if we give to the poor, our Lord will repay us. He will not fail to make a full compensation—He will return our offerings and sacrifices with large interest and increase of blessings. Jesus tells us that when we give, we will receive. That our gift will return to us in full—so full that we can hold no more. (Luke 6:38)
Granted, His rewards will return to us in various ways. Sure, sometimes it will be in the form of money; if that is what we are in need of. But we may also be in need of favor, healing, strength, protection, saved children, etc. These rewards are greater than any monetary reward.
As we end today, I want to challenge you to care for the less fortunate—to lend to God—not just when the year winds down, but make it your goal to give throughout 2017. Ask God where He wants you to give and how—through prayer, fasting, time, and/or money. Let’s open up our hearts and our lives to give Him plenty of room to move in, through and for us.
Lord, thank you for giving us the opportunity to help the poor. Work in our hearts so that we give with a generous heart and not solely to be rewarded. Help us to keep a compassionate attitude for those You have placed in our lives who are in need. Use us Lord, and help us each to be the Light of Jesus to them. Encourage and strengthen us as we share the gospel and the promises You offer in Your Word. Help the less fortunate to be able to rise above their circumstances and experience all You have for them. Thank you, Father, for blessing me with time, energy and money so that I am able to give to them generously. We come boldly before You with this prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.