I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land. Deuteronomy 15:11
Elvis Summers answered the door to find Smokey, a frail woman who stopped by regularly to ask for empty cans to return for cash. This money was her primary source of income. Elvis got an idea. “Could you show me where you sleep?” he asked. Smokey led him to a narrow patch of dirt about two feet wide next to a house. Moved by compassion, Summers built her a “tiny house”—a simple shelter that provided space for her to sleep safely. Summers ran with the idea. He started a GoFundMe page and teamed with local churches to provide land to build more shelters for others who were homeless.
Throughout the Bible, God’s people are reminded to care for those in need. When God spoke through Moses to prepare the Israelites to enter the promised land, He encouraged them to “be openhanded and freely lend [to the poor] whatever they need” (Deuteronomy 15:8). This passage also noted that “there will always be poor people in the land” (v. 11). We don’t have to go far to see this is true. As God compassionately called the Israelites “to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites” (v. 11), we too can find ways to help those in need.
Everyone needs food, shelter, and water. Even if we don’t have much, may God guide us to use what we do have to help others. Whether it’s sharing a sandwich or a warm winter coat, small things can make a big difference!
Who do you know or have seen that may be in need of help today? What can you do to help?
Jesus, help me to find ways I can help those around me. Please give me a generous heart.
Before the Israelites crossed to the promised land, God gave them some final commands, one of which addressed how to treat the poor. This involved forgiving debts of fellow Israelites every seven years (Deuteronomy 15:1) to prevent any of them from becoming poor (v. 4). It’s even noted that no one would be poor in the land if they faithfully obeyed God and all His commands (vv. 4–5). However, God knew that this mandate could cause bitterness to sprout if an Israelite asked for a loan when those seven years were coming to an end, for the lender would be wary knowing he would likely have a larger amount of debt to forgive. So God warned them that harboring resentment would cause them to be guilty of sin (v. 9), but He also reassured them that they’d be blessed if they gave generously (vv. 6, 10).
Visit ChristianUniversity.org/ML101 to learn more about a biblical perspective of money.