17 Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord,
and he will repay him for his deed.
How often does someone in poverty reach out a hand to us for a gift? Growing up around Chicago, I saw the poor every time I went to the city. Later in life we began to minister to drug addicts who told us how much they could make in a day by standing on a street corner with their hand out. Then I began to see every poor person as an addict who would take my hard-earned money to buy awful drugs, so I did not want to give any more. No, that was not fair either. As a pastor, people ask me for money and the church considers giving to their need.
Proverbs 19:17 is our guide for Christian giving to the poor. We learn here that when we give to the poor we are lending our money to the Lord. I once loaned money to a man to buy a car. When the oil light came on the man ignored the warning and destroyed the engine. The man decided not to pay me back for a car that he could no longer use. Yes, I was quite upset but I learned this principle that day. Now, when someone needs money, I give it to them. When they promise to pay me or the church back, I let them know that whether they pay it back or not is on them and that I will never bring it up again. In the end, the Lord takes care of our investment to the poor.
The principle is clearly stated here; when we give to the poor we are lending to the Lord and the repayment is in the Lord’s hands. When we give money away, we are to give it with no conditions and with no strings for we are lending it to the Lord. Our giving is out of love, not obligation, out of need, not because we are supposed to. When we learn to give in love to those in need, we give freely and leave them the responsibility of how they spend it. To some people, I might pay their rent or pay their electric bill without giving them cash, if led to do so, but the repayment is up to the Lord.
You see, my friends, Jesus was a friend to me when I was just a sinner with no love for Him. He gave me His life so that I could live. When I give, I am displaying the love of Christ which at one time I needed to see. Give to the poor, lend to the Lord, and leave it all in His hands. Perhaps we will be able to point those we help to the Giver of all life.
As we are in our mission’s emphasis month we are getting to know some of our missionaries. Rene and Juliette are missionaries in Indonesia with Word of Life. Their goal is to reach young people for Christ by getting into schools with the gospel of Christ. Pray for Rene and Juliette to know the open doors of the Lord, to see God’s provision for their Visa and financial needs, so that they can minister Christ here for years to come.
On Sunday, we learned about unity in love and in knowledge. Why is this so hard for the church of Christ? We want to be unified, but we are not always loving with our knowledge. The flip side is that we love careless of knowledge. Pray together church that we may be as united as the cells in our human bodies. We also enjoyed looking at the riches of God in Christ and learned that when we go to our Lord for help that His supply far exceeds our need and that we can expect Him to meet our needs. What a great comfort we have in the riches of God in Christ.
Have a great day in the Lord,