“‘Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am the LORD your God.”
Leviticus 19:9-10 NASB
The poor will always be among us.
In my fifty-nine years, I can remember all the different efforts to deal with poverty in the world. Governments have developed programs and such to tackle the need that never seems to go away. The battle has also caused some to take sides as polar opposites fight over tax dollars and political power. The poor are often lost in the middle.
Jesus made the poor His ministry and they have a special place in His heart as they represented the epitome of dependence and humility.
As we have gotten away from the spirit of God’s teaching, the poor have all but been forgotten. The passage above shows us how to provide for the poor in God’s economy. Those who were blessed with much made provision for those with little. It was a law of God.
There is little leaving of the corners today. The harvest is corner to corner, leaving nothing. If you want to eat you have to pay. That practice has permeated the hearts of people as well.
Even christians who have been blessed by the grace of God,look to condemn the “freeloaders” who appear to be getting by on the hard efforts of others. They rail against the government handouts, but offer no replacement. There appears to be a heartlessness, that does not match up to the faith they profess.
A call to consistency.
Too often we believers find ourselves behaving like the Pharisees: we make demands of people while not being willing to follow through ourselves.
We deny the humanity of those who are doing the behaviors we find loathsome, but do not explore the reasons behind it. We condemn the poor for being poor, the homeless for being homeless, but make no effort to make a difference.
We call ourselves evangelicals, people dedicated to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a sick and dying world. But we never consider that the person we are trying to reach might have more pressing needs. They might be hungry, homeless, abused, displaced, in despair. If we fail to consider those needs our efforts are pointless.
“If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.”
James 2:15-17 NASB
This is not only action, it is attitude. A few years ago I had a great need. I was forced by kidney failure to leave work resulting in a drastic change in my finances. About that time, the roof on the house was aging and has fallen into decay. A dear brother was cleaning my gutters and actually fell through a hole in the garage roof. Everyday as I left my house. I saw the hole and the need. Everyday I was reminded of my not being able to do anything about it. God was working. A Christian charity called Hope2Offer, of which my gutter cleaner was affiliated, reroofed my house and my garage.
I will not name the brother, because I want him to get maximum blessing in Heaven, saw a need, stepped up and provided a blessing. Imagine if the Church of Jesus Christ rose up to deal with the issues of the world, if we left our gleanings, our corners to those who have need. Better still if we sought out those and brought provision to them. I am not talking about simply doing charity work, but also bring the biblical truth of the Gospel. Imagine if each of us looked for needs that we individually could meet.
Imagine the body of Christ providing a safety net for unwed mothers considering abortion, that pays for prenatal insurance, and streamlines the adoption process. Consider the power of feeding the hungry in the neighborhood around the church.
The world all too often does not know us by our love. They know us by our judgement. We focus on specific sins and forget the most important point: people need a savior.
Sinners are gonna sin. It is not until Jesus that they can change. God is the one that convicts and transforms. Our job is to share truth: that we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Without the saving grace of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection we are bound for hell. We must be forgiven and born again.
It is much easier to communicate if they know you love them and your love is made manifest by action. Pray on how the Lord can use you today.
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