Considering the Poor
“Blessed is he who considers the poor...” Psalm 41:1
The other day a friend commented on the generosity of our family. I have to say that even though our family loves to give, at times I still feel like we do not give enough. My questioning to God often goes like this, “Why did you give us so much Lord, and give others so little in this world? What more can we do to help out those in need? Where can be take the blessings you have given us, and use them to bless others?” There are endless needs surrounding us, and yet even with the great multitude our family is blessed with, we still have limited resources on what we are able to give.
Only, with great blessings comes great responsibility and much more pressure to listen to God when He asks you to give – no matter the sum, your perspective on the worthiness of the receiver, or your ideas of the productive potential of the gift.
God has asked our family to give in some of the strangest manners and altogether painful circumstances in the past, so much so that I have stopped trying to reason out why God asks us to give to certain causes or individuals - we have just learned to give and leave the rest in His hands. As a result of our giving, our family has felt both joy and hurt. But in all the ups and downs of giving freely as the Lord has requested, our family's faith has increased and that has been the greatest blessing I could have ever asked for or prayed for.
Of course giving money is not the only way to give to others. There is the value of time invested in people which also adds up even more powerfully than monetary gifts. Read what these two excerpts from Job say about that type of giving to those who are poor in the ways of this world:
“I delivered the poor who cried out, the fatherless and the one who had no helper. The blessing of a perishing man came upon me, and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy...I was eyes to the blind, and I was feet to the lame. I was a father to the poor, and I searched out the case that I did not know. I broke the fangs of the wicked, and plucked the victim from his teeth.” Job 29: 12-13, 15-17
For those of us who have been given much wealth, we have also been given rule in this world. Our money and free time have afforded us much power and some day we will be judged with how wisely or how foolishly we have made use of our wealth. To those who have little, they are at the mercy of our rule and our generosity, both areas in which we can either shine the love the Jesus or hide within the shadows of greed.
Conversely, giving all you have out of guilt because of what you have been given is not what God expects of you. Wisely giving in the unique manner and ways God instructs you is the only way to share your wealth responsibly. As I stated above, God has asked us to give in some rather strange ways – ways we did not seek out because we were giving out of guilt, but rather giving out of obedience. For our own peace of mind we have learned through past experiences our control over those possessions ends at the time the gift is given, otherwise the gift isn't really a gift at all, but rather a means to further control the one to whom you have given the gift.
As you pray about the gifts and talents the Lord has given you, make sure to remember to ask Him where He would like to see you use what you have been given in order to benefit the lives of those less fortunate. We all have a responsibility as servants of Christ Jesus to no longer live for ourselves, but to live for Him and to give ownership to Him all that is His in our lives and all that He has given us the rule over. When we live and share in this manner, then we are able to perfectly shine His light in this world in ways that are effective and perfect in the eyes of the One who has given us all that we possess in this world.