“Here’s more to share…”
I have seen poverty. There is nothing virtuous about it. Just my fellow human beings having to make do or do without. I have seen wealth. There is nothing virtuous in that, either. Just my fellow human beings surrounded by more than they will ever need. God promised that Israel would be a wealthy nation if they were faithful to Him. As a result—There would be no poor among them (Deut.15:4-5). God anticipated Israel’s incessant faithlessness, stated the result thereof, and commanded a solution: “For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land’” (Deut.15:11). Jesus would later tell his disciples, “For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me” (John 12:8).
Poverty, in all its varying states, is not going away. The oft stated tragic irony of today’s world is that we have never had so much, yet so many still die of starvation. There is nothing complex about this. It’s the same old despots living off the same old aid money as their citizens starve to death. I have met rich Christians from ‘dirt poor’ countries whose wealth came directly from the aid money given to their corrupt government. I have also met Christians, both wealthy and poor, who live to serve others for Jesus. Two brothers, worlds apart regarding available resources, both literally checking to make sure that the money that they were giving to help others arrived at its intended destinations—Praise God! As congregations we follow in the steps of our first century brethren and use our pooled resources to help the needy (2Cor.9). As individuals, we ask God for wisdom as to how to “give as we have been prospered.” Our giving to God will achieve little until we humbly accept this fact: “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; (2Cor.9:8). Giving is a ministry that brings glory to God as a result of the thanksgiving it produces. We have missed the point if we reduce ‘giving’ to money. Giving is defined by the need in front of us. Here’s more to share: “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return” (Luke 6:38).