Scripture: Proverbs 19:17 “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.”
This verse seems rather similar to what Job expressed the other day. He was abundantly kind to the poor yet did not appear to receive any credit or benefit from God in his mind. There have been times when I have acted in kindness towards the poor with the only apparent result being I had less money than before! Call me Job. I was thinking money and expected gratitude and God was thinking kindness! I know you are smiling analyzing my greedy little sinful mind! I repent. God is looking at our hearts.
There are several things at play here. In spite of the promises of some erroneous preachers, God is not obligated to bring material blessing when we assist those in need. “Giving to get from God” is the very heart attitude Jesus condemned. God will not be manipulated. The Good Samaritan was out money, time, and personal expense because he gave to one in need. Yet his reward was huge. He was commended by God for his acts of kindness. Kindness is not material; it is an expression of the heart. Anyone can offer it to any other person. Kindness may take patience, make take listening, and it may take inconvenience. What it does take is a will.
The Message records this Proverbs passage as: “Mercy to the needy is a loan to God, and God pays back those loans in full.” In other words, the kindness shown in giving to the needy is like money being lent to the Lord. In God’s time, those loans come back in full in God collateral. As we meet fellow pilgrims traveling along the road today, let us ever keep our final destination in sight. “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” Prov.16:24
Music: “Jesus, I Adore Thee” University Presbyterian Sanctuary Choir, Dan Sharp directing!
Jesus, I adore Thee, Word of truth and grace,
Who in glory shineth light upon our race.
Christ, to Thee surrendered, my whole heart is bowed.
Alpha and Omega, thou true Son of God.
Taste and touch and vision to discern Thee, fail;
faith that comes by hearing pierces through the veil.
I believe whate’er the Son of God hath told.
What the truth hath spoken, that for truth I hold.
Word of God incarnate, Lord of life and light,
teach me how to love and worship Thee aright.
Holy Spirit, ever bide within my heart,
speaking Thy commandments, telling all Thou art.
Wondrous revelation, verity and grace.
Lo, in heaven’s glory I see Thee face to face.
Light of endless light Whom heaven and earth adore,
fill me with Thy radiance, now and evermore.
(text by St. Thomas Aquinas; translation by Stephen Caracciolo. This video was recorded in the early 2000’s long before the technology of today! This first song has a marvelous text. “Filling with the radiance of Christ is the essence of kindness. There is a second song on this clip. The first is 3:41)
Prayer: Fix thou our steps, O Lord, that we stagger not at the uneven motions of the world, but steadily go on to our glorious home; neither censuring our journey by the weather we meet with, nor turning out of the way for anything that befalls us. The winds are often rough, and our own weight presses us downwards. Reach forth, O Lord, thy hand, thy saving hand, and speedily deliver us. Teach us, O Lord, to use this transitory life as pilgrims returning to their beloved home; that we may take what our journey requires, and not think of settling in a foreign country. –John Wesley (1703-1791)