Read Proverbs 17
Featured Verse: Proverbs 17:5
“He who mocks the poor shows contempt for their maker; whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.”(Proverbs 17:5)
Contempt for the Creator—really?
Yep! That’s what the Creator says in the Operator’s Manual for Planet Earth—the Bible. It says that when we look without compassion at those who are trapped in a cycle of economic despair or who have suddenly fallen into financial ruin, or act as if they deserve what they are getting due to their own poor financial management, we come dangerously close to spitting in the face of God.
In fact, there are an astounding number of places in the Bible warning us that those kinds of attitudes have no place in the community of Christ. Rather, we have been called to lift up the downtrodden, we are to bear one another’s burdens, and we are to strengthen the weak and love the unlovely. Not only that, but Jesus himself said that the defining mark of his followers would be that they have a full-throttled love, one, for God, two, for one another, and three, for a hurting world. And guess what? Two out of three don’t cut it here!
It’s not that we have ignored the hurting, the fallen, or the poor entirely. We do a pretty good job of giving to disaster relief, sending our unused clothing to thrift stores and donating canned goods to shelters. That’s not the problem; it’s the attitude with which we do it. You see, we engage the hurting but we don’t empathize with them very well. We open our wallets, just not our hearts. Yet the Bible tells us that God is on the side of the poor and the downcast. And, in fact, to ignore their needs or to judge them is to show contempt for God himself:
“You insult your Maker when you exploit the powerless; when you’re kind to the poor, you honor God.” ~Proverbs 14:31
“It’s criminal to ignore a neighbor in need, but compassion for the poor—what a blessing!” ~Proverbs 14:21
“Mercy to the needy is a loan to God, and God pays back those loans in full.” ~Proverbs 19:17
Jesus said it this way in Matthew 25:40, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
So the bottom line is this: We had better guard our hearts and watch our attitudes very carefully when it comes to the poor and hurting. We, as individual believers and corporately as churches, need to develop a sensitive heart and a willing response. Compassion is the rightful domain of Christ’s community and we need to seriously up our game when it comes to care and involvement with the less fortunate.
Why is this such a big deal to God? Five reasons.
One, God is on the side of the poor.
Two, not to take their side too is inviting the judgment of God.
Three, taking care of what God cares about invites God to take care of what you care about.
Four, care and involvement with the poor will nourish your spirit and transform your own character
And five, expressing God’s heart for those trapped in misfortune will exert the awesome, life-changing power to lift a person out of their despair—something that may never occur without your helping hand.
“Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.” ~Mother Teresa
Winning At Life:
In the Incarnation, Christ left his glory to enter into our poverty. We have been called to the same kind of incarnational living. So here’s the $64,000 question: What about your attitude, your schedule and your spending patterns needs to change to fully, personally and practically exude the Incarnation in your world?