Saturday, March 10, 2012
Give it away!
Deut. 15:10 Give liberally and be ungrudging when you do so, for on this account the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake.
Deut. 15:11 Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore command you, “Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land.”
Moses is again presenting the Law to the Israelites. He makes a statement that we hear later from Jesus. There will always be people around us who are in need! That is why we are taught how to respond to the needy. We are to be a generous people to those around us. Give liberally with what we have. Not only are we to give liberally we we are commanded to "Open your hand." Of course, this could mean letting go of our money and sharing it with them -- but could it also mean to lend them our hand. Be willing to reach out and make a difference.
Yesterday I shared my personal rant about the state of society. Someone raised a very important question and that is how the Church is supposed to respond to those concerns. The personal conviction is, "How do I respond?" As I look around my world I see many who are poor and needy these days. How have they gotten into this state? Realistically, many are being born into this state. They are being born into families in which they never will be taught the laws of God -- or even the laws of order. What do we as God's followers do? I'm afraid that sometimes we stand around in judgement of them and wonder why they can't try a little harder! But can they? What if there is no template for life? We, as God's children, can't just stand around and criticize. Rather, we need to figure out how to become involved in making a difference.
First of all, we need to give liberally and ungrudgingly. I think that means that we give without asking "How did you get here?" I know I've mentioned before the statement I discovered in Mother Theresa's home in Calcutta. A quote of hers on the wall said, "Don't tell me that I have to teach them how to fish, because if I don't feed them today, they will die!" No questions asked about how they got there -- they were fed so that they would not die. We must have this spirit of generosity to those who are in dire need.
Second, we must be willing to open our hand -- not just for a hand out, but a hand up. Years ago in the early days of the Salvation Army bands of young people would live in the worst parts of the cities, just to be the presence of Jesus in those communities. Often a young person was assigned a city block that was their responsibility. They weren't there to plant a church, but to be Jesus. They got to know every family that lived on that block and they prayed for them, and loved them, and helped them. What would happen if we, as God's people, again began to take responsibility for "being Jesus" on our block? What if we purposely moved to where the poor and needy are so that we could "be Jesus" to them? Or, what if we simply opened our eyes to those we run into every single day that need a hand up from Jesus! We don't need to just give our stuff away -- we need to give ourselves away.
Lord, please cultivate a spirit of generosity in my heart in all things! Amen.