On the outskirts of Paris, as in other cities around the globe, people are coming to the aid of the homeless in their communities. Clothing, covered in waterproof bags, is hung on designated fences for those living on the streets to take according to their needs. The bags are labeled, “I’m not lost; I’m for you if you’re cold.” The effort not only warms those without shelter, but also teaches those in the community the importance of assisting the needy among them.
The Bible highlights the importance of caring for those who are poor, instructing us to be “openhanded” toward them (Deuteronomy 15:11). We might be tempted to avert our eyes to the plight of the poor, holding tightly to our resources instead of sharing them. Yet God challenges us to recognize that we will always be surrounded by those who have needs and therefore to respond to them with generosity, not a “grudging heart” (v. 10). Jesus says that in giving to the poor we receive an enduring treasure in heaven (Luke 12:33).
Our generosity may not be recognized by anyone other than God. Yet when we give freely, we not only meet the needs of those around us but we also experience the joy God intends for us in providing for others. Help us, Lord, to have open eyes and open hands to supply the needs of those You place in our paths!
Are you holding too tightly to your resources? If yes, why? What need can you fill today?
God’s decree to Israel to care for the poor in their midst was represented by a trio of the poorest of the poor—widows, orphans, and aliens. Because the Israelites were blessed with material prosperity, they were commanded to share with the economically vulnerable (Deuteronomy 16:9–12; 26:8–11). Part of the command to be generous included allowing the poor to feed on their lands under the law of gleanings (Leviticus 19:9–10; Deuteronomy 24:19–21). They were also to set aside a tenth of their harvests every third year as part of their social responsibility “so that [the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow] may eat in your towns and be satisfied” (Deuteronomy 26:12).