The Bible has a lot to say about the poor and what it means to God. ….something we should all do as we’re able.
Of course we don’t help the poor just so we’ll receive rewards. We do it because it’s the right thing to do. Most of us have been blessed. Yes, we will receive rewards from the Lord, according to what we’ve done here on earth, but we give because it is the right thing to do, and besides, God takes it personally when we help those who are unable to help themselves. The Proverb says, “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed” (Prov 19:17), and “Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor” (Prov 22:9). This is something we should all do as we’re able. We can’t solve world hunger, but we can at least help locally. The Apostle Paul says, “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). As Jesus said, “Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you” (Matt 5:42).
Someday, “the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt 25:34). Why? He goes on to say, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me” (Matt 25:35-36). When we minister to those who are less fortunate than we are, we minister as unto the Lord. In fact, Jesus says, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matt 25:40). The way God sees it is, “Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him” (Prov 14:31). It’s really a good idea anyway, not just because we do it unto Christ, but “Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse” (Prov 28:27). The Lord our God, Jesus Christ, says, “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12:33-34). Outside of our bills and monthly payments for car, house, utilities, and other things, where we spend our money reveals where our heart is at, and it reveals what we really treasure.
Not for Gain
As we have read, we give to the poor because it is the right thing to do. Jesus once gave an example of unselfishness in Luke 14:12-14 where He said, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” We don’t give in order to be repaid. If we do, then we’re no more than a lending institution. There will be a time of rewards, but we who are blessed are in a position to help, obviously not all, but at least some. Just because there is so many needs doesn’t mean we can’t help at least someone with a need. We know that the poor aren’t going away anytime soon. Scripture says, “For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land” (Deut 15:11), so “If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday” (Isaiah 58:10). When the Apostle Paul was asked about remembering the poor, he said that this was “the very thing I was eager to do” (Gal 2:10b). We should be eager to do the same.
Helping the poor is a command from God, in the Old Testament and the New Testament, and it is incumbent upon us who have to help those who have not. God says, “If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be” (Deut 15:7-8). The Apostle John asks a very convicting question: “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him” (1 John 3:17)? Remember God says, “Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered” (Prov 21:13). The day you get in trouble and go hungry may make you appreciate God’s Word about helping the poor, because “Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor” (Prov 14:21). Be blessed by being a blessing.
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Christian Crier or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.