WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
SEPTEMBER 4, 2022
TOPIC: REMEMBER THE POOR
BY T. O. BANSO
“They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do” (Galatians 2:10 New King James Version).
In Galatians 2, Paul recalled his visit to Jerusalem with Barnabas and Titus in obedience to a revelation that he had. During the visit, he met privately with the leaders of the church and shared with them what he had been preaching to the Gentiles to make sure that he was not running or had not run in vain.
According to him, there was nothing they could add to his preaching. They saw that God had given him the responsibility of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as he had given Peter the responsibility of preaching to the Jews. He said that they encouraged him and his co-workers to keep preaching to the Gentiles, while they continued to preach to the Jews. But Paul added, “They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do” (Galatians 2:10 New King James Version). Please take note of the phrase “remember the poor.”
Most Bible translations use the phrase “remember the poor.” What does this mean? The Bible in Basic English renders Galatians 2:10 thus: “Only it was their desire that we would give thought to the poor; which very thing I had much in mind to do.” In other words, to remember the poor means to give thought to the poor. They were to consider the plight of the poor as they minister to the Gentiles. Paul remarked that this was something he was also eager to do.
The New Living Translation puts the verse this way: “Their only suggestion was that we keep on helping the poor, which I have always been eager to do.” The New Century Version says nearly the same thing: “The only thing they asked us was to remember to help the poor — something I really wanted to do.” In Acts 24:17, Paul tells us an instance of his ministry to the poor when, after an absence of several years, he came to Jerusalem to bring his people gifts for the poor and to present offerings.
Remember the poor. To remember the poor means to help the poor among those being ministered to. This was the standard set by the leaders of the early church. The church today must continue to build on the foundation that had been laid. The church and individual Christians must remember the poor, give thought to the poor, or help the poor, particularly the poor believers in their assemblies. Christians must not ignore the poor in their midst. We must be mindful of them and seek to meet their needs.
Christians must not look down on the poor in their midst. The Apostle James says, “But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts?” (James 2:6 New King James Version). This should not be so. In verses 1-4, he warned against showing favouritism saying, “My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” (New International Version).
Don’t discriminate against the poor. Don’t despise them. Rather remember them. Help them as much as you can. Jesus told His disciples, “The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me” (Mark 14:7 New International Version).
Also in Luke 14:12-14, Jesus emphasized the need to remember the poor. He said to His host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous” (New International Version).
Jesus didn’t mean that you cannot hold a party and invite your friends and relations but He underscored the importance of not being unmindful of the plight of the poor while lavishing one’s money on those who need it less. The poor people need all the food and the drinks more than the rich friends and relations. As said in Albert Barnes’ NT Commentary, “The passage means, therefore, call not only your friends, but call also the poor.”
The poor should not be neglected to suffer hunger while the rich, who are not hungry, are being fed! The poor will appreciate more the banquet. While we are celebrating, wining and dining, we must remember the poor and reach out to them
In Nehemiah 8, the Jews who had returned from exile wept as they listened to the words of the Law read and explained to them. Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites, who were instructing the people, told them not to mourn or weep because the day was sacred to the Lord their God (verse 9).
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (verse 10 New International Version). Take note of the phrase “send some to those who have nothing prepared.” Those who had something to eat should remember those who had nothing prepared. They were to “send presents to those in need” (The Living Bible). And the people did so (verse 12).
Remember the poor. That’s why the LORD told the Israelites, “And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 19:10 New King James Version). They were not to be concerned about only themselves but to take care of those who were vulnerable. “But the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave, the beasts of the field may eat. In like manner you shall do with your vineyard and your olive grove” (Exodus 23:11 New King James Version).
Remember the poor. There will always be poor people. We must not ignore them, despise them, or dishonour them. “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). Jesus said a similar thing. “For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always” (Mark 14:7 New King James Version).
Remember the poor. Remember to help the poor. Give thought to them. Be mindful of them. Job said he delivered the poor who cried out, the fatherless and the one who had no helper (Job 29:12). He also said he was a father to the poor (verse 16a). Job asked, “Have I not wept for him who was in trouble? Has not my soul grieved for the poor?” (Job 30:25 New King James Version). From what Job said, he didn’t hurt the poor or caused widows to weep (Job 31:16).
Remember the poor. As David said, blessed is he who considers the poor; the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble (Psalm 41:1). Whoever has a generous eye will be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor (Proverbs 22:9). And whoever gives to the poor will not lack, but he who hides his eyes will have many curses (Proverbs 28:27).
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 remember the poor in the name of Jesus. I shall not hide my eyes from the poor or ignore their cry. Holy Spirit, help the church to be generous to the poor. Father, send to the poor those You will use to meet their needs.
(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.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947