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[Giving & Provision]:
[The Poor]:
The Basics of Giving to the Poor
Written on October 16th, 2004 - 2:57AM
Last Updated: November 26th, 2004 - 4:46PM

He who has pity on the poor lends to Yahweh; he will reward him. (Proverbs 19:17)

Giving to the poor sometimes remains a neglected teaching in the Body of Christ today. Looking back to the days of Israel, as well as the early Assembly, we see that supporting the poor in their need was a vital part of serving God. This service goes above and beyond the third tithe for the poor, but the principle can certainly be applied to that as well.

To withhold help from the poverty-stricken when we are able to bless them, is to cause one's faith to become a clanging cymbal, and a worthless example. However, when we take pity on the poor, and we supply that which they lack from our abundance, we show forth our love for God and Christ, as well as set an example to others around us.

Lest we should wrongly hope in error, let us remember the words of Christ concerning the poor:

For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want to, you can do them good; but you will not always have me. (Mark 14:7)

The poor will always be with us. Yahweh knew this when He gave the Law through Moses. Many commandments and judgements involved the poor and their treatment by the Israelites. Again, Christ tells us that we always have the opportunity to do good to them. And the apostles, too, encouraged just such an attitude.

Knowing that the poor will always be with us, the next step is coming into contact with them, and realizing that they have needs, and discerning what those needs are.

And if a brother or sister is naked and in lack of daily food, (James 2:15)

We first acknowledge the need.

and one of you tells them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled;" and yet you didn't give them the things the body needs, what good is it? (James 2:16)

We then wish them the best in Christ, showing that we care. But, as we see in the next portion of scripture, we must put works with that confession, as we are able.

and one of you tells them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled;" and yet you didn't give them the things the body needs, what good is it? (James 2:16)

To see the poor, to acknowledge their need, to prescribe their supply, and then to turn away without giving it to them, is most certainly "no good!"

What then should we do? Paul gives us an example of an Assembly that typified graceful giving to the poor.

1Moreover, brothers, we make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the assemblies of Macedonia; 2how that in much proof of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded to the riches of their liberality. 3For according to their power, I testify, yes and beyond their power, they gave of their own accord, 4begging us with much entreaty to receive this grace and the fellowship in the service to the saints. 5This was not as we had hoped, but first they gave their own selves to the Lord, and to us through the will of God. (2 Corinthians 8:1-5)

Paul then explains he wishes to see the same fullness of grace in the Corinthians:

6So we urged Titus, that as he made a beginning before, so he would also complete in you this grace. 7But as you abound in everything, in faith, utterance, knowledge, all earnestness, and in your love to us, see that you also abound in this grace. (2 Corinthians 8:6-7)

However, it must be remembered that we are giving as part of the Body of Christ, and not merely as individuals. When we give, it shouldn't be to puff ourselves up with pride, but rather an act of love. Likewise, we shouldn't "sound a trumpet" so that others see what we are doing. Jesus warned us in this respect:

1"Be careful that you don't do your charitable giving before men, to be seen by them, or else you have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2Therefore when you do merciful deeds, don't sound a trumpet before yourself, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may get glory from men. Most certainly I tell you, they have received their reward. 3But when you do merciful deeds, don't let your left hand know what your right hand does, 4so that your merciful deeds may be in secret, then your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. (Matthew 6:1-4)

So there exists the precedent of believers exhorting other believers to take part in the grace of supplying the needs of the poor. This is similar to any other exhortation—when a saint discovers a new facet of God's grace through our faith and works, He shares it with others in the hopes that they too will partake for their own benefit. Why then would we enter such a lifestyle?

8I speak not by way of commandment, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity also of your love. 9For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:8-9)

Paul encourages us, and we should thus encourage each other, to give to the poor not only for its obvious benefits (it supplies their needs, and brings blessing from Yahweh upon us), but also to show forth the sincerity of our faith to others! We do this because of the sacrifice our Lord made for us on the cross, setting side the wealth of His life, in order to provide us with riches beyond our grasp. When a believer gives to the poor, He emulates Christ, and shows His love not only for God but for mankind as well. Jesus said it like this:

14You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill can't be hidden. 15Neither do you light a lamp, and put it under a measuring basket, but on a stand; and it shines to all who are in the house. 16Even so, let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

When we, as believers in Christ, give to the poor, others will find out. It matters not that we give in private, because those who receive will know which Assembly it came from. Thus, as whole, the local Assembly of God is glorified by Christ, as a faithful member of His Body. Others will see the proof of true discipleship unto Christ—love for one another (John 13:35).

Therefore show the proof of your love to them in front of the assemblies, and of our boasting on your behalf. (2 Corinthians 8:24)


Last Accessed: January 23rd, 2021 - 9:52PM
Times Read: 1614
 
The Good Message

As you read this site, you will hopefully come to know Yahweh more fully.

But all of this continuing knowledge is useless unless and until you come into union with Him. I use the word union because it is truly a marriage. It is that deep connection we all seek, for which we most often look in other people. However, the truth is that our hearts will only be fulfilled when we enter that union in fullness with the One Who made us.

This is the grace of God, that He has not stayed distant for us only to worship as Creator. But He has come unto us, even become one of us—in His Son, Christ Jesus—in order to share an intimate union with us. He desires such closeness that it truly will envelope our entire life, transforming us into something new and wonderful.

You may have already entered this union with Him and only seek to know Him better through reading here. But if you have not, as you do read, let this Gospel sink into your heart as you read it now.

God loves you, and has cast your sins into the sea. He has sent His only Son as the Savior of the world—that includes you.

That Son, Jesus Christ, was born as a man through a virgin who had given her life to Yahweh; He lived without sin, reflected the glory of His Father, God, in all His words and deeds, and was persecuted even unto death because of it.

His death upon a cross was the powerful explosion that separated you from your life of death. It remains for you, now, to enter into that death with Him. As you die to the one you are now, a person separated from God from your many sins, you will be born anew, with a nature predisposed to live rightly. This gift is free to you, with nothing you can do to earn it. It is the mercy of God to offer it to you, as He loves you so much! All you must do is receive it by trusting Him to have delivered you. Simply place your life in His hands and embrace the freedom that came through that death on the cross.

The Gospel is that Jesus did not remain dead, but rose again on the third day after His crucifixion! Death could not hold Him, as He was without sin. And so death will not be able to hold you, as you identify with Him fully through your trust in Him. Let go of yourself and confess Him as Lord of your life. The power of His death and resurrection will work in you all that your Creator has destined for you. You will truly enter a new life and experience that intimate union you have been seeking all of your life.

So ponder these words as you read here of this great God—Yahweh—and all that He has revealed to His creation. Let His Spirit testify to your heart that these words are true, that God is Love, and that He sent His Son so that you might receive the life that is unbound by time and space. As you feel that witness in your heart, simply believe and receive what He is offering to you, even now, and begin your new life as a child of God.

Please write to me and let me know when you take this step, as I will be your brother in Christ—we will be one in Him!

 
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