Friday, September 3, 2010
Charity for the Poor
Jesus taught us that we would always have the poor with us. The Scriptures also taught us that we have a responsibility toward the poor.
"What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?" (James 2:15-16). "Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hand of the wicked. They do not know, nor do they understand; they walk about in darkness." ―Psalm 82:3-5
"The righteous considers the cause of the poor, but the wicked does not understand such knowledge." ―Proverbs 29:7
One of the great sins of Sodom was, according to Ezekiel, was the sin of not caring for the poor: "Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy." ―Ezekiel 16:49
In fact, one of the main reason given for work is so that we can be charitable: "Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need." ―Ephesians 4:28
God promises spiritual blessings to those who show charity to the poor: "You shall surely give to him, and your heart should not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand. For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, 'You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land." ―Deuteronomy 15:10-11
"Blessed is he who considers the poor; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive, and he will be blessed on the earth; You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies. The Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness; You will sustain him on his sickbed." ―Psalm 41:1-3
Charity toward the poor expresses love for God: "He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, but he who honors Him has mercy on the needy" (Pr. 14:31); "He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what he has given" (Pr. 19:17).