Help them . . . so they can continue to live among you. Leviticus 25:35
The three hundred middle and high school students of the small town of Neodesha, Kansas, filed into a surprise school assembly. They then sat in disbelief upon hearing that a couple with ties to their town had decided to pay college tuition for every Neodesha student for the next twenty-five years. The students were stunned, overjoyed, and tearful.
Neodesha had been hard hit economically, which meant many families worried about how to cover college expenses. The gift was a generational game-changer, and the donors hoped it would immediately impact current families but also incentivize others to move to Neodesha. They envision their generosity igniting new jobs, new vitality—an entirely different future for the town.
God desired His people to be generous by not only tending to their own acute needs but also by envisioning a new future for their struggling neighbors. God’s directions were clear: “If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them” (Leviticus 25:35). The generosity wasn’t only about meeting basic physical needs but also about considering what their future life together as a community would require. “Help them,” God said, “so they can continue to live among you” (v. 35).
The deepest forms of giving reimagine a different future. God’s immense, creative generosity encourages us toward that day when we’ll all live together in wholeness and plenty.
How does generosity meet immediate needs? How can it encourage you to also look further?
Dear God, I struggle with being generous in the most basic ways. Help me to see and act.
In the Old Testament, the Israelites were commanded to be generous to their fellow Israelites (Deuteronomy 14:27; 15:7–11) and to foreigners and strangers (Leviticus 23:22; Deuteronomy 26:12). In the New Testament, believers in Jesus were likewise to be generous. The apostle Paul gave a good example of generosity to fellow believers in 2 Corinthians 8–9. The Macedonian church, despite their extreme poverty and during a severe trial, joyfully gave as much as they could to help the needy believers in Jerusalem. And Paul urged the Corinthians to willingly do the same, reminding them: “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (9:6). Today, we’re to extend that same generosity inside and outside the church: “Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Hebrews 13:16).