God has always instructed His people to be generous to the poor, and He has promised to bless those who obey this instruction. When God freed the Israelites after 400 years of captivity in Egypt, He set down rules that they were to follow in order to maintain a right relationship with Him. Included in those instructions was the command to open their hands to their poor brothers and to willingly lend to those in need, in order to meet their needs. In return, God promised to bless all the works of their hands.
“If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs….You shall surely give to him, and your heart should not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand. For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.’ ” Deuteronomy 15: 7 – 11
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God continues to bless His people today, as we show generosity and care for the poor in our communities. Those who open their hearts and their pocketbooks receive many blessings in return.
Chief among these blessings is happiness. In “The Paradox of Generosity,” authors Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson report that generosity is associated with increased personal happiness, a sense of purpose, and overall better health. This should not be surprising to Christians, as God promised happiness to those who are generous: “He who despises his neighbor sins; But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he.” Proverbs 14:21
God promises many other blessings to the generous. These blessings include:
- Abundance “The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself.” Proverbs 11:25
- Financial Repayment “He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord,
And He will pay back what he has given.” Proverbs 19:17 and “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”Luke 6:38
- Bountiful Harvests. “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” 2 Corinthians 9: 6
- Needs will be Met “He who gives to the poor will not lack, But he who hides his eyes will have many curses.” Proverbs 28:27
- Blessings “He who has a generous eye will be blessed, For he gives of his bread to the poor.” Proverbs 22:9
My desire is to honor God in the way that I live my life. In Proverbs 14:31, God makes it clear that we honor Him when we obey His command to be kind to those in need. “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Make, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” Proverbs 14:31
I encourage you to make it your desire to honor God, and to reap the blessings promised from Him, by being generous to those in need.
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