GIVE TO THE POOR AND NEEDY

WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL

FEBRUARY 02, 2024

TOPIC: GIVE TO THE POOR AND NEEDY

BY T. O. BANSO

“He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done” (Proverbs 19:17 New International Version).

Giving to the poor and needy is a truth clearly stated in the Old Testament. But the New Testament has not cancelled it because it is an expression of love. The Bible says we should love our neighbours as ourselves (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31; Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8). “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13 New King James Version).

1 John 4:8 says he who does not love does not know God, for God is love. Love gives, although not all giving is borne out of love. Paul says, “If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:3 New International Version). In other words, someone can give for another reason, not love.

Christians should learn to give to the poor and needy either in the church or outside. We should not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth (1 John 3:18). The Apostle James says, “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:15-17 New International Version).

God does not want us to close our eyes to the poor and needy, for there will always be poor people. Even in the land flowing with milk and honey, the Land of Canaan, God said there would always be poor people there. “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 15:11 New King James Version).

Earlier in verses 7-8, the Lord said, “If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs” (New King James Version). In other words, don’t be hardhearted or tightfisted towards the poor and needy; be open-handed. Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you” (Matthew 26:11a New International Version). Mark 14:7a and John 12:8a record the same statement.

God has compassion for the plight of the poor and needy and takes care of them; He wants His children to do the same. “The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the Lord will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them” (Isaiah 41:17 New International Version). Give to the poor and needy in whatever way you can help them. God doesn’t overlook such.

It is a sin to harden your heart or shut your hand from the poor and needy when you can give them something. Give to them according to your ability. Ezekiel 16:49 says, “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy” (Ezekiel 16:49 New International Version).

Give to the poor and needy whatever you can afford. Don’t mistreat the poor and needy (Ezekiel 22:29). Don’t exploit them (Proverbs 22:22; Amos 8:6). The Bible says of the virtuous wife in Proverbs 31, “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy”(verse20). Be kind and generous to the poor and the needy both in the church and outside the church. Give to them. The churches in Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, and others in the region of Macedonia (Macedonian churches) who were going through hardship and serious poverty had a ready excuse not to give, but they pleaded to be allowed to bless their fellow believers.

Paul said, “Our friends, we want you to know what God’s grace has accomplished in the churches in Macedonia. They have been severely tested by the troubles they went through; but their joy was so great that they were extremely generous in their giving, even though they are very poor. I can assure you that they gave as much as they could, and even more than they could. Of their own free will they begged us and pleaded for the privilege of having a part in helping God’s people in Judea” (2 Corinthians 8:1-4 Good News Translation).

In 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, Paul also talked about the collection for the saints – the needy saints: “Now regarding your question about the money being collected for God’s people in Jerusalem. You should follow the same procedure I gave to the churches in Galatia. On the first day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once. When I come, I will write letters of recommendation for the messengers you choose to deliver your gift to Jerusalem.  And if it seems appropriate for me to go along, they can travel with me” (New Living Translation). The early apostles, including Paul, didn’t forget helping the poor (Galatians 2:10).

Give to the poor and needy. When you do, God becomes your debtor! He will always pay back. “He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done” (Proverbs 19:17 New International Version).

The Bible tells us the story of Cornelius, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always (Acts 10:1-2). This devout man did not only fear God and prayed but also gave alms. He gave to the poor. Cornelius was not like the rich man in Luke 16:19-31 whom Lazarus, who was covered with sores, had to lay at his door longing for scraps from his table and the dogs would come and lick his open sores. There is no record that the rich man gave to Lazarus. But things changed after both of them died.

Also, Dorcas (Tabitha), a certain disciple at Joppa, was a giver. She was full of works of kindness and charity (Acts 9:36). She took care of widows, providing them with clothing. Maybe God, using Peter to bring her back to life when she died, was God’s way of rewarding her generous giving.

James 1:27 says, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (New King James Version). Give to the poor and needy. God will reward you. “He who gives to the poor will not lack, but he who hides his eyes will have many curses” (Proverbs 28:27 New King James Version). Don’t be hardhearted or tightfisted towards the poor and needy; be open-handed. “A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor” (Proverbs 22:9 New International Version). A generous man will prosper and he who refreshes others will be refreshed (Proverbs 11:25).

TAKE ACTION!

If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.

PRAYER POINTS: I shall not be hardhearted or tightfisted towards the poor and needy; I will be open-handed. Holy Spirit, help me not to close my eyes to the poor and needy but to refresh them so that I also can be refreshed.

(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).

T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947
Email: cedarministryintl@yahoo.com,
cedarministryng@gmail.com
Website: www.cedarministry.org

BE OUR FINANCIAL PARTNER 
Account Name: Cedar Ministry International
Bank: Heritage Bank Plc.
Naira Account: 6001608129
US Dollar Account: 2100077073