Gas prices are up, food prices are up, and it doesn’t appear to be changing for the better any time soon. (What a way to start a blog, am I right?) I heard that natural gas prices are projected to rise in the next few months, going from $4.00 to over $5.50 by Christmas. With all this bad news about cost of living, I’ve been thinking about what God says about giving to those in need because in times like these, giving is hard and people’s needs increase. Now, before you decide to quit reading this, I want to make sure you realize I am not talking about tithing to your church. That is between you and God, and I promise you I am not writing this to challenge you to tithe more. I’m talking about giving to people in need.
Proverbs 19:7- Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.
Proverbs 21:13- Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.
Clearly, we are supposed to be a people that aren’t like everyone else. As Christians, I believe we have a responsibility to look, act, and love differently than those who don’t believe as we do; and as such, we ought to be a people that ask ourselves questions like, “How do most people do (such and such)?” and follow that by doing the opposite. So when it comes to giving to someone in need, we ought to be different than most people. More specifically, we need to be different in that we realize that God sees our giving to the needy as giving to Him. Jesus said in
Matthew 25:40- And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
Isaiah 58:10- If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. –
There are so many scriptures that tell us to give to those in need, and I have simply shared 4 of them. Equally important to God is how to give:
2 Corinthians 9:7- Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. –
We are to give cheerfully, with joy in our heart. God cares about your heart: He judges the hearts of men, not the actions. There are a lot of people who give out of reluctance, peer pressure, or fear, but God wants us to change the motives of our hearts. In Ezekiel 11, God promised to give us a new heart, to take out our hearts of stone and give us hearts of flesh. He is after a transformation within each and every one of us. He is trying to get us to change our perspectives. He is trying to set us free from the things that ensnare us, such as pride and fear.
When I watch the news and see projection reports of our economy, I instantly want to hold on to every penny I have, and I can certainly justify that with scripture by saying “God wants me to steward what He has given me. I need to make what I have grow,” because there are multiple teachings of Jesus that taught about multiplying what God gives. But that is also how the world thinks. So then what do we do?
Luke 12:33- Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.
It seems to me that Jesus was trying to teach us that when we give to those in need, God multiplies the gift in Heaven. This is something very important for us to learn. We know Jesus wants us to multiply what we are given by God, but multiply it how? We know we are to steward what God gives us, but how? By blessing others, by making sacrifices that cost us, and by loving on people who are in need, we are doing the work of God.
So am I telling everyone to give away everything they have? No. Not at all, but give what you can when you can.
1 John 3:7- If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?
Deuteronomy 15:7-8- Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor. –
God loves everyone and He wants everyone to come to Him because He can make them whole. Love does that. He meets every need. He feeds the hungry, He sets the captives free, and he provides for the poor. How does He do that? He uses us. We are His tools. He loves us and wants to partner with us to meet the needs of everyone. Today, as I thought about our current economic environment, I realized that money is tight and is going to get tighter. My first reaction was to think of ways to save money and multiply money. But then, in my secret place, I felt God pull me close and say, “If you’re scared, what do you think others are feeling? Now is the time to bless them and give.”
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