Caring for the Poor

11,000 hits is here! Let me introduce the newest guest writer at A Little Bit of All of It. Keri is a wife and mother of two boys. In her free time she likes to write articles for her blog, The Grace Post, and plan events for her non-profit organization Women of Acts. (You may remember that I blogged about Women of Acts not too long ago, great organization!) Today Keri is sharing her heart with us and I know it will be beneficial to all of us to read this.

via chuckwarnockblog.wordpress.com

“Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor.” Proverbs 22:9

This is a verse that is short but says so much. Throughout Scripture we are admonished to care for those who are less fortunate. There is no underlying motivation other than to show the love of God for people by caring for the physical needs of others. Generosity is not limited to donating cash to a person in need, although that is a wonderful thing to do. Generosity is a state of the heart. It is a mindset that truly what we have is God’s. He has given us stewardship over it, and we are to use it in a way that pleases Him. A person with a generous heart toward the poor will be blessed for that spirit. They don’t have to question whether the financial decision to help the poor will please the Lord. They know it to be so.

You do not have to have large wealth to have a generous spirit. The widow with two mites who gave her all is seen as the biggest gift even though monetarily it was the smallest. A person of great wealth who gives their required tithe but does so without generosity and love has missed the mark of what God asks of us.

As I’ve studied what the Bible says about our responsibility to care for those in need this verse is the most forceful in my mind:

“‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. Ezekiel 48:9

The people of Sodom had everything they could want. When the Bible lists their sins it doesn’t just mention their pride and gluttony, it mentions that they ignored the poor around them. So self absorbed that they just turned a blind eye to those who were hurting and needy in their community. It tells me that God cares deeply about those who are poor and needy around us. Intentional giving to the poor in our community is expected of us. It is not just a mark of a virtuous woman. By not caring for those around us we are actually committing sin.

I feel like just saying that is radical. Maybe it is our American mindset that tells us that we just need to work harder to achieve greatness. Truly the ability to work hard and achieve success is a great thing. It is something we relish in the United States. The reality though is that this work ethic often leaves us feeling entitled to our wealth. Like we have somehow earned it through our hard work and now our money is ours. Arrogance that the wealth is ours and not from the blessing of a good God who cares for us.

Now, I know most of you already know the truth of what I just said. What matters more than my explaining a Biblical truth is how we apply to our lives. Maybe you don’t have much. That is ok. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Volunteer at a food bank
  • Use coupons and fill a bag with your deals for a family who really needs it
  • Give your nice used clothes to a family who needs it instead of consigning them.
  • Get a group of friends together and collect coats and blankets for a homeless shelter
  • Donate coupons to a shelter
  • Keep $5 gift cards for fast food in your purse and give them to someone who is homeless

These are just a few ideas I’ve come up with. I’m sure there are hundreds more, so be creative! Involve your kids in a project like these this summer. That way instead of simply telling them to be generous, you show them how to live generously.

We need to open our hands to them in generous and abundant ways. The poor in our church. The poor in our community. The poor in our world.  The care of the poor and needy should not be left to others. God has called Christians to this work. Do it with an loving and generous spirit, and you will be blessed!

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