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Lending To The Lord

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 (NKJV)

I recently read an article about how the city of brotherly love — Philadelphia — passed a new law to prohibit feeding homeless people outdoors.  And they are not alone, as more than 50 cities have established some sort of anti-camping, or anti-food-sharing laws to tighten regulations on giving aid to the poor.

Michael Nutter, the Mayor of Philadelphia cited the lack of sanitary conditions and dignity for the homeless as among the main reasons for the action.  He said, “Providing to those who are hungry must not be about opening the car trunk, handing out a bunch of sandwiches, and then driving off into the dark and rainy night."

With respect to the Mayor, personally, I don’t think God is asking for any of us to rebuild another person’s entire life when we see them cold, hungry and in need — after all, only He can do this.  But I believe He is allowing us to be a part of His blessings upon their lives — even if it is  just handing out a sandwich or blanket in love to someone in need on the side of the road.

Ultimately, these types of city bans are being put in place to keep those in need from congregating in public parks, thereby keeping them from being seen by the masses.  I guess we are to derive that having hungry, poor, and homeless people in plain site isn’t good for the community image, but is this how God views this?  The answer is, “NO!”  God is very clear on helping those who are poor, hungry, and in need.  We can clearly see this in the Scriptures.

He who gives to the poor will not lack, But he who hides his eyes will have many curses. Proverbs 28:27 (NKJV)

In His parable about heaven, Jesus spoke about helping those who were hungry and thirsty, saying, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” (Matt. 25:34-46).  And we are told in Proverbs 19:17, He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, and He will pay back what he has given.”

Q:         What should we do if we see someone destitute and hungry—should we feed him or her or obey the law?

God has placed government authorities over us and commanded us to submit to them and we are bound to obey the law of the land (Rom. 13:1-7), as long as it doesn’t contradict the law of God (cf. Acts 5:27-29).  If we find ourselves disobeying the law of the land, even if it is to obey God, we must be willing to submit ourselves to the Government's authority and punishment over us.  We see this clearly taught in Scripture when Peter and John were flogged for disobeying the authority's commands not to teach in the name of Jesus.  Even so, they submitted to God and rejoiced because they had suffered for obeying God (Acts 5:40-42). 

I want to encourage you to think and pray upon these things. Ask God how you can be used to help those who truly are in need — After all, you’ll be lending to the Lord.

STUDY QUESTION: According to the Scriptures in this devotional, what can we learn about helping those in need?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Are you willing to help others in need even if it leads to you being persecuted?

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Seek the Lord and ask Him to guide you in helping others.  It is your acts of love that will lead others into knowing Jesus’ love for them. 

MAKE THIS YOUR PRAYER TODAY: Father, thank You for Your Word and the wisdom within it.  Help me to make wise choices Lord, and to be strong in doing what is right, even when it isn’t allowed by our ruling authorities, or when it will lead to my potentially being persecuted.  May You be glorified in how I conduct myself at all times.  In Jesus’ precious name, amen…

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott



Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000