“Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:42, NIV 1984).
Ron is one of the older partners in our clinic. Last Thursday, I caught him in the hall talking to one of his indigent patients whom I knew to be a drug addict. I watched as Ron pulled a bill out of his pocket and handed it to the man and then patted him on the shoulder as he left.
I passed Ron in the hall and mentioned, “You know, he’s just going to use it for drugs.”
“Perhaps so, “ Ron said. “I hope not. But, you know, I don’t just give it for him; I give it for me.”
God in His Scriptures frequently voices His love for the poor. The beautiful story of Ruth and Boaz surrounds a story of institutionalized protection of those in poverty---God had commanded His people to leave the gleanings from harvesting the wheat in the fields for the poor to gather (Deuteronomy 24:19-21). And even His command to tithe included a year’s tithe to go to the poor (Deuteronomy 14:28-29).
God loves the poor and expects us to care for them.
But giving to the poor is not just a blessing for the poor alone. I suspect a major reason that God frequently asks us to give to those in need is to benefit our own character. I believe that God is constantly shaping us to become more like Jesus and that one of our roughest edges is our perceived right to our possessions.
Most of us are working very hard to build our personal kingdoms while God is constantly trying to convince us to hand over everything to Him---so that we will not be owned by that which we possess. When Jesus was saddened by the rich young man holding onto his possessions, he was not sad for the poor who would miss out; he was sad for the man who held on to his own kingdom, thus missing the chance to grab hold of God’s.
Giving is a blessing for me as much as it is for those who receive my gifts. When Jesus said, “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you,” he said that to benefit me---to whom the command is directed.
A wise pastor put it this way –
“Thy kingdom come, my kingdom done…Tithing is not just to support the church. Tithing helps me bleed the kingdom I’m trying to build.”
Dr. Richard Hipps
Shape me more by letting me give more.