Helping the Poor, Lending to God

Daily Devotion|Day 244

“He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again” (Proverbs 19:17, KJV).

Compassion is the character of God. It is the character that He expects from all people, especially we who are the redeemed of the Lord. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus taught, “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7). Then in Luke 6:36, Jesus had this to say to His disciples, “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.”

You will understand the Christian life better when you understand that your whole purpose in life is to be like your Father in heaven. This is your fundamental witness to the world. Once you get this, God’s commandments and instructions will make sense to you. Speaking to his children, the Father said, “Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy” (Leviticus 19:2). What the Father is, the children must be also.

What we’ve said so far is in relation to today’s opening passage from Proverbs 19:17. God cares for all people, but He reserves special care for the vulnerable and marginalized. Such people are dear to God. In Scripture, you will notice that God has strong words for those who oppress or ignore the poor. Likewise, He has high praise and great reward for those who take care of the poor (see, for example, Proverbs 14:31; 1 Corinthians 11:22; James 2:5-6).

Today’s Scripture says that those who have pity upon the poor lend to God. Yes, if you show compassion to the poor, God takes is personal. He takes it that He ‘owes’ you for doing that. And the Bible adds that whatever you give to the poor, the Lord shall pay you back. When you show compassion to the poor, you are behaving like your Father in heaven. It makes Him proud to have a child like you. God is pleased when His children manifest His character.

Therefore, when you get an opportunity to reach out to the poor, rejoice, because great is your reward in the Father’s presence. Every chance you get to show the Father’s character is a golden opportunity. Seize it, and make the most of it. Your good deeds do not go unnoticed. God will be in your debt. And, blessed are you if God is in your debt.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be upon you in abundance. Amen.

For further study: Psalm 41:1-3

Who You Invite Matters to Jesus

Daily Devotional: Day 141

“But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14: 13-14, NKJV).

Jesus is known for His radical teachings. Today’s passage is one of them. When you look carefully at what Jesus said, it defies common logic. Nevertheless, His teaching is true. The wisdom of God surpasses human wisdom. And, what appears wise to us may be foolishness to God: “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (1 Corinthians 3:19).

One day, Jesus was a guest at the house of one of the leading Pharisees in Israel. As usual, He took the opportunity to turn the occasion into a teaching moment. Today’s reading is part of what He taught. He says that when you give a feast, don’t invite your friends and relatives and rich neighbors, lest they invite you back and you get repaid (cf. Luke 14:12). This statement alone is problematic. It sounds unrealistic and counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? But Jesus isn’t interested in how we feel about it. He is teaching truth with authority as the Son of God, and He is expecting us to practice what He is telling us.

Jesus goes on to say that when you give a feast, invite the poor and the socially marginalized. Now listen to His logic. He says when you invite people of this class, you will be blessed. Why? Because they cannot repay you. Instead, you shall be paid at the resurrection of the righteous on the last day. When you do good to people, and you are always expecting them to return the favor, you can’t count on receiving a reward in heaven, because you have already received your reward.

 Jesus’ message to us is this: When you do good to people, your blessing consists in the fact that the beneficiaries of your kindness cannot repay you. Rejoice, because God has taken note of it, and on the day of resurrection, He shall richly reward you for your deeds of kindness. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see followers of Jesus practice what Jesus is teaching us today? What is stopping us?

Decide whose reward matters to you. Do you want to be repaid here or in heaven? Your choice.

May the Lord let His face shine on you and your loved ones today! Amen.

For further study: Psalm 41:1-3

Star Life

Daily Devotional: Day 51

“And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3, KJV).

Today’s Scripture is part of the revelation given to the prophet Daniel concerning the end of the world. Much was revealed to Daniel, but our focus today is about what the Bible says will happen to those whose names are written in the Book of Life. The Word of God gives us a two-fold description of those who shall be spend eternity with God. First, the Bible says that they that are wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament. The same Bible tells us in Proverbs 9:10 that, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” This means, the Bible defines a wise man as one who fears the Lord. The person who fears the Lord submits himself to God and his holy Word, careful to obey God and stay from iniquity. As you fear God, you grow in God’s wisdom. When Christ appears, the Bible says, the wise shall shine as brightly as the firmament. This is a manifestation of the glory reserved for those who fear God.

The Bible also says that those who turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever. Again, this is the expression of the glorious life that is reserved for God’s children – those who lead others into the righteousness of God. Many people in life walk in darkness, deceived by the world and Satan. God wants us to lead people away from ungodliness and help them turn to Jesus for salvation. We do this by our example and teaching. For our reward, when Jesus appears, we shall shine as stars forever. Don’t be ashamed to spread the light of God’s truth. Great is your reward when you lead people to the truth of Christ Jesus. Think of how brightly the stars shine. The Bible isn’t talking about the fading glory of sports stars, TV personalities or movie stars. God will make you shine forever like the stars of heaven. Think about it. And you’ll realize that you don’t need validation from this world. Your true glory comes from above.

 Prayer:

Thank you, Daddy, for the glory that shall be revealed when Christ returns. Grant me wisdom, knowledge and boldness to live as a Christian and to point souls to your truth. In the Name of Jesus. Amen. 

For further study: Romans 8:16-30