Remember the Poor

By Pastor Teck Uy

In the world that we are living in, we find all sorts of people. However, there is one group of people that the Lord takes special care, the poor. He cares about them and therefore, we are warned: “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God” (Prov. 14:31). Indeed, the Lord looks after their needs in a special way. In giving the Law to Moses, he specifically said, “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the Lord your God.” (Lev 19:9-10).

The design of God for his people is that they should all be living in plenty. He said, “There should be no poor among you, for in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today” (Deut. 15:4-5). It can be deduced from these words that the prosperity of God’s people is dependent on their obedience to the Lord’s commandments. No one who is obedient will be living in want. However, the Lord also knew the hearts of men that there will always be disobedient. Hence, he said, “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore, I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land” (Deut. 15:11)

As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we ought to have regard for the poor also. This should be one of our concerns as we reach out to the general public to share the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The early apostles had this concern and they made this very clear to the apostle Paul when they met him. The apostle Paul testified of his meeting with them and said, “All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do” (Gal. 2:10). It is imperative then that all believers should have concern for the poor especially to fellow believers. In encouraging believers to do this, the apostle Paul said, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Gal. 6:10).

In attending to the needs of the poor, the Lord said, “Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to” (Deut. 15:10). From this command, the Lord emphasized two attitudes in our giving that honors him. These are:

Give generously. There is much blessings that comes in being generous in our giving. The apostle Paul said, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Cor. 9:6). If we ask the farmers, they will surely agree that they need to sow more than one seed for them to have a great harvest. Even King Solomon said, “Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well” (Eccl. 11:6). He was emphasizing the fact that we need to keep sowing because we don’t know which of the seeds that we have sown will grow and bear fruit.

Give cheerfully. Our giving should be done without a grudging heart. We should not consider our helping the poor a burden. In fact, King Solomon said, “He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done” (Prov. 19:17). This should encourage us to give cheerfully because it is to God himself that we are giving our gift. Therefore, the apostle Paul said, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7). To give begrudgingly is to withhold a portion of your heart in your giving. The door is not wide open so that when the Lord pays back, not much is received because the opening is slightly open. Our sowing should be done cheerfully, and it is this cheerfulness that allows us to expect great blessings. When we reluctantly give, we are not as expectant of a great reward. We entertain the thought that our giving is a waste and a burden. We do not expect much reward because we thought that the person we are helping will be the one to pay us back. But we must remember the words of the Lord Jesus Christ. He said, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ (Matt. 25:45). This being the case, the Lord is our true rewarder. Hallelujah!