“One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his good deed.” Proverbs 19:17 NAS
An area of giving that God specifically promises to bless multiple times in the Bible is giving to help the poor and needy. And there are several reasons that this type of giving requires faith.
One is that when you give to poor, they are unlikely to ever repay you. Sometimes we give to bless others because we know they will eventually return the favor or “repay” us with a similar Christmas gift, birthday present, or hospitable meal. But Jesus said this to a Pharisee in his day, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14:13-14
In passages like this (and others like Matthew 25:38-40) and the verse above, God promises to repay us, with divine interest, when we care for the poor or needy or those who are “down on their luck.”
Another reason this requires faith is because if you freely give to a needy person they might misuse what you give to them. This might be true, but God promises to reward our faith and love regardless of their faithfulness with our gift. And we have to be careful that our thinking does not come back to back to judge us like this next promise warns.
Jesus gave another convicting reason to consider related to why we should help those who are less fortunate than us financially, “When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” Luke 12:48b NLT
I recently read an article from Relevant magazine that said if you make more than $32,400 a year you are among the top 1% of earners on the planet; that probably includes most of us. Another statistic in that same article said that 10% of the people in the world currently survive on less than a dollar a day; that is not any of us.
Ouch! I’ll be honest with you between being reminded of these verses and recently seeing these statistics, it has given me reason to pause and think about some of my spending and giving habits. Would you join me in praying about this area of giving and ask God what changes he might have each one of us to make as we head towards this new year? Also keep your eyes out for opportunities for you to show love to Jesus by caring for someone in need (like food, clothing, shelter, or other basics) this Christmas season and let’s seek God to help us grow in becoming more generous givers, like Him!