Read: Proverbs 14:31
Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.
There are a lot of ways that we bring glory and honor to God–by our praise, in our giving, through our purity–but one of the most undervalued and neglected ways that we delight the heart of the Father is when we serve the destitute and downtrodden among our brothers and sisters in the family of mankind. God has a special place in his heart for the poor, and when we reach out to them with sacrificial love and unconditional grace–as God did for us when he rescued us from our sin–he receives honor. Moreover, our kindness to the needy actually releases his kindness and his favor to us.
If you want to be blessed by God, just try caring for the poor. If you want to honor God with your life, trying getting involved with the poor. If you want to discover meaning and add value to what you might consider an otherwise dull life, open your heart, your hands, and your pocketbook to the poor. God cares for the poor, and when we care for the things God is concerned about, God will make sure that our concerns our cared for. But if we show contempt for them–by judging them, ignoring them, despising them, making light of them…what we might call benign oppression–we might as well be poking a finger in the eye of their Father.
Of course, there are poor among us because of their own foolishness, but from my vantage point as I write this blog from the very poor nation of Ethiopia, I have a sense that the overwhelming majority of the world’s poor are trapped in an endless generational cycle of poverty from which there is no escape without help from the outside. This is what I would call the poverty of the poor. (Proverbs 10:15) The tragedy for them is not just the lack of basic resources for life, it is a near genetic poverty that enslaves them from pre-birth throughout their lives until the day of their death.
But what joy when the Gospel of the Kingdom reaches their hearts, when the people of God who have been blessed open their hearts and their bank accounts to reveal the love of their Father in a tangible way, when those who “have” step out of their comfort and abundance to enter into the suffering of those who “have not”! Surely that’s what Jesus had in mind when asked for evidence that the Kingdom had come through him. Among the many obvious evidences he offered, arguably the most understated was that the Gospel had been preached to the poor. (Matthew 11:4-5)
So here’s the $64,000 question: Does your Good News–the Gospel of your life–somehow, in some way, some of the time lead you to care and involvement with the poor? If it doesn’t, you don’t preach a whole Gospel. If it does, your Father is smiling, because the fingerprints you leave behind both reveal and enhance his glory!
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet
for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”
~II Corinthians 8:9
Your Assignment, Should You Choose To Accept It:
So what are you going to do about this business of care and involvement with the poor? It is not just about the occasional monetary donation or serving in a soup kitchen every decade or so. God wants you to make a lifestyle choice to greater care and involvement. It is time to make it happen!