"Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and will be repaid in full."
I started a new sermon series yesterday: "A Heart For The Poor." There are two main goals I had: a) help people understand God's heart for the poor... b) share my experiences from my trip to the Philippines this past February with Compassion International. Along the way, I hope people will respond with their own hearts, resources, and time.
Today I came across a few choice proverbs on the poor. First was Proverbs 19:17 (see above). My nature tends to be someone who enjoys helping people and letting others borrow something if I have it. Can you imagine God asking, "Hey, Jim... can I borrow something? I'll get it back to you later." I'd be like, "Nah, God... take it! It's yours!" He'd be like, "No, I'll get it back to you... I just need it for a while." As we say in Hawaii, "SHOOTS!" When we're kind to the poor, this proverb says, we're "lending" to God. Wow!
Then I got to chapter 21, verse 13... "If you close your ear to the cry of the poor, you will cry out and not be heard." Failing to hear (and respond!) to the cries of the poor is detrimental to one's own relationship with God. We're not called to "mind our own business" when it comes to relating to the poor. God says that the cries of the poor around us IS OUR BUSINESS. Does that mean we have to solve every problem we see? Of course not. But if our hearts are soft and pliable... then God can use them in compassionate ways to help.
PRAYER: Keep my heart open to the cries of the poor and oppressed around me, Lord. Help me to gravitate towards an initial response of kindness. Bless Mboya, my Compassion child in Kenya... as well as all of the children I met in the Philippines - and those who love on them throughout the week! AMEN.