"For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills. "I know every bird of the mountains, And everything that moves in the field is Mine. "If I were hungry I would not tell you, For the world is Mine, and all it contains. (Psalms 50:10-12)In this passage the Lord tells us that their is no lack in His kingdom. All of the earth is at His disposal. So, why is it that so many struggle financially and what should our response be to those in need? The answer to the first part is quite complex and covers the gamut of human problems ... greed, misfortune, foolishness and many other issues factor into poverty. Many books have been written about this and I won't try to give any answers here. What I'd like to discuss is one response to poverty: generosity. Listen to what the Apostle Paul says:
"In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" (Acts 20:35)One of the best sermons that I have ever heard on giving started out with the speaker telling everyone to not pray (before a meal) at a restaurant if you are not a generous tipper. The issue with charity (like tipping a waiter/waitress) is one of generosity not obligation. Those who give out of obligation open themselves up to attitudes of superiority and self righteousness. I think that true generosity comes from humility and gratitude.
As I have been reading through the Old Testament the past few months I have repeatedly seen God's admonition to care for the poor. I believe that He tells us to care for the poor not only because it is good for the poor but it is good for us as well - if we give with the proper attitude. To be a generous person challenges me because it demands more than a percentage ... more than an occasional thought. Generosity demands repentance from self-seeking and self-centeredness ... it demands an attitude change at a core level.
Friends, what do you think about when you consider the poor? Does your heart break for the poor? Do you pray for them? Do you hope for them? Are you grateful that people and governments come to their aid? Do you hope that health care will be available when their children are sick? Do you cry for the destitute in Africa and other places? Do you have compassion for people less fortunate than most of us? I hope this note causes you to pause, pray and give in generous ways.