WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
SEPTEMBER 3, 2022
TOPIC: GIVE TO THE POOR
BY T. O. BANSO
“For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, ‘Buy those things we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor” (John 13:29 New King James Version).
Jesus should be the role model for every child of God. One of the attributes of Jesus we should seek to emulate is giving to the poor. Some people are only good at giving to the anointed men of God because they want to “tap the anointing” upon their lives or because the anointing upon them can provoke supernatural financial breakthroughs for them.
It is biblical to give to the servants of God. I’m not criticizing that. The Bible says that some women supported Jesus’ ministry financially (Luke 8:2-3). We need to support servants of God financially to keep the work of God on earth going. However, we must also not neglect to give to the poor. This we should also do regularly. I’m not talking about giving to people that encourage them to be lazy or irresponsible.
It does appear that giving to the poor was a regular practice in Jesus’ ministry. In John 13:21, Jesus told his disciples that one of them would betray Him. The disciples looked at one another, confused about whom He was referring to. When one of the disciples asked him whom He was talking about, He said it was the person He would give a piece of bread after dipping it in the dish, and it happened to be Judas Iscariot.
After the piece of bread, Satan entered him, and Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” No one at the table knew why Jesus said that to him. “For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, ‘Buy those things we need for the feast,’ or that he should give something to the poor” (John 13:29 New King James Version).
From that scripture, you could see that one of the two things they assumed was that it was another time to give to the poor, and Judas, who was holding the purse, should do so. If giving to the poor was not a regular practice, they wouldn’t have assumed that Jesus was talking about giving to the poor.
There was another instance when giving to the poor was mentioned in Jesus’ ministry. That was when Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with costly oil of spikenard and wiped His feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the oil (John 12:3). The disciples of Jesus were not pleased with this and complained about the waste (Matthew 26:8). But as recorded in John 12:5, probably it was Judas Iscariot who expressed the indignation of the other disciples, saying, “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” (New King James Version).
John explains this in verse 6: This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief and had the money box, and he used to take what was put in it. But the point we should take note of is that Judas Iscariot talked about selling Mary’s expensive perfume and giving the money to the poor. Apparently because giving to the poor was a regular practice in Jesus’ ministry.
In Jesus’ reply to the condemnation of Mary’s action in preference to selling the oil and giving the money to the poor, he didn’t oppose giving to the poor. Rather, He supported what the Old Testament said about taking care of the poor. He said what Mary did was urgent and she was right in doing it. “But Jesus said, ‘Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always’” (verses 7-8 New King James Version).
There would always be poor people in any generation, and Jesus said we should take care of them; give to the poor. Deuteronomy 15:10-11 says, “You shall surely give to him [the poor], and your heart should not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand. 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’” (New King James Version).
In Matthew 19, Jesus told the self-righteous young man who said he had kept all the commandments from his youth and wanted to know what he lacked in his quest to have eternal life, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (verse 21 New King James Version). Did you notice that Jesus didn’t say He should go and sell everything and come to sow all the money into His ministry? He said He should go and give the money to the poor.
Unfortunately, the young man went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. His wealth was his god, and that was what Jesus wanted him to get rid of. It wasn’t that giving away all of one’s possessions is the key to eternal life. You can’t buy your way into eternal life or heaven.
Give to the poor. Jesus did not only feed the multitude supernaturally in his ministry, but He also gave to the poor. Every Bible-based ministry or church and individual Christians should give to the poor who will never be able to pay them back. Giving to the poor is giving to God. The leaders of the early church encouraged believers to give to the poor (Galatians 2:10). There’s something you have that you can give to the poor. It is not only money.
According to Proverbs 19:17, “He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, and He will pay back what he has given” (New King James Version). Also, Proverbs 21:13 says, “If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered” (New International Version). Cornelius was a devout man, who feared God with his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always (Acts 10:2). God didn’t forget him. Cornelius saw an angel in a vision, and the result of that experience was his salvation and the salvation of his household through the Apostle Peter.
2 Corinthians 9:9 says, “As it is written: ‘He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever’” (New King James Version). This is a reference to Psalm 112:9. Give to the poor; but give out of love (1 Corinthians 13:3). God will repay you. “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25 New International Version).
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: In the name of Jesus, I shall not shut my ears to the cry of the poor but have pity on them. Holy Spirit, help me to refresh others, especially the poor, and I will be refreshed. I pray that all Christian ministries and individual Christians will not neglect to give to the poor.
(For over 800 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.
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