10 Mar Be Generous to Those In Need
Scripture — 7 If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. 8 Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need….10 Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. 11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land. Deuteronomy 15: 7-11
Moses was challenging the people to be generous with their less fortunate brothers and sisters to make sure they were cared for. Moses states a truth here that is still true today: “There will always be poor people in the land.”
There is an ongoing animated conversation here in Seattle about what to do with the growing homeless population. There are arguments that can be made about drug addiction and mental illness; and with these arguments the call to make sure we are not enabling illegal or irresponsible behavior.
And I would agree with the concerns of enabling people in their illegal or irresponsible behaviors. But there is a call to still minister to these people in some way. We can always carry with us canned food goods to give to the person along the roadside at the end of freeway exits. And I am well aware of the stories of some people who abuse this panhandling environment to rake in thousands of dollars each year. So we do need to be wise in how we help. But the fact remains— the God of heaven is saying to us here through Moses that there will always be poor people who need to be ministered to.
I participate at times with a group of people from our church who feed the homeless under I-5 off of Airport Way every Saturday morning. We also share with them the story of redemption that is found in a relationship with Jesus and we encourage them with options to get into shelters and rehabilitation centers.
This is called Light Under the Bridge Ministry and we usually feed 35 to 50 people each Saturday. But also there are times that my wife and I will help people in need, and our church has a benevolence fund to help people in the community who are in need. From this scripture I am reminded that it is important to carefully manage my own finances so that I can be ready to help with people who are in need. We also as a church contribute to the White Center food bank.
Thank You, Father for the great heritage you gave me and my siblings by being raised in a pastor’s home where we learned to be grateful for what we have and generous to those in need. Help me to pastor the people you have entrusted to my care to be generous with their resources and to be sensitive to those who are less fortunate.