I want to share with you a moment burned into my mind as a poignant testimony to generosity. My daughter, Sarah and I, experienced this moment in the city of Cerro de Pasco, Peru, in 2002. In the course of ministering to a small church in this town located at the top of the Andean mountains, we met street children who were collecting trash or anything of value they could find on the streets, in order to garner a handful of coins.
Although home to one of the deepest silver mines in the world, Cerro de Pasco’s 70,000 inhabitants are mostly poor. One would think that any money a child could scrape would be zealously guarded and used for food or clothing. But these joyful children tithed from what they had in order to give to missionaries. It was a demonstration of the poorest giving to the poor to honor and expand God’s work. Someday I hope to learn how God blessed them!
Psalm 41:1-3—Happy is one who cares for the poor; the LORD will save him in a day of adversity. The LORD will keep him and preserve him; he will be blessed in the land. You will not give him over to the desire of his enemies. The LORD will sustain him on his sickbed; You will heal him on the bed where he lies.
The passage above gives us six benefits for helping the poor.
Helping the poor brings happiness to the giver. Proverbs 14:21 further supports this. “The one who despises his neighbor sins, but whoever shows kindness to the poor will be happy.”
Helping the poor brings God’s hand of rescue in a “day of adversity.” This is opposite of conventional thought which suggests that we should preserve everything we get so that when adversity comes we can buy our way out or at least have the means to survive.
Helping the poor results in God preserving the giver. The Hebrew word shamarmeans to preserve, to keep, watch. Shamar is also applied by God to those who are humble (Psa. 138:6,7) and obedient to His Word (Pro. 19:16).
Helping the poor brings blessing where the giver lives. This blessing comes from the Hebrew word asharand brings the idea of advancement. To better understand this we can learn from Moses who taught the Israelites in Deuteronomy 15:10, “Give to him, and don’t have a stingy heart when you give, and because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you do.”
Helping the poor means protection for the giver against his enemies’ bad intentions. Seven of the thirteen verses in this Psalm by David speak to betrayal or mal intent by his enemies. Yet he felt confident that by caring for the poor, God would protect him.
Helping the poor brings healing from sickness. We see this demonstrated in 2 Kings 4 where a wealthy Shunammite woman saw the prophet Elijah’s need and provided him a room. Because of her generosity, God gave the barren woman a son and later when that son died from some kind of head affliction, God restored him back to life!
Super-survivors recognize the healing and strengthening value of “paying forward,” or giving to others and to the community.—Steven M. Southwick & Dennis S. Charney in Resilience
©2016 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)