“He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, but he who honors Him has mercy on the needy.” Proverbs 14:31 NKJV
The experience of giving to others has amazing benefits not only to the recipient, but also to the giver, and giving is a major theme scattered throughout the whole Bible. God’s love didn’t come in word only; His love was demonstrated at Calvary, when His gift of love came down for all mankind. Jesus’ acts of love were shown to all He met throughout His earthly mission, and even while suffering from His cross He pardoned – imputing salvation and promising eternal life to a dying thief next to Him.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
I’m sure we all can remember a time in our personal lives when the word “love” didn’t resonate well as we walked away from someone who hurt our feelings with their words, or hit a few chords of discontent which caused distrust and doubt to grow toward those we had previously placed trust in. But then again, many people will reluctantly admit that “it’s to be expected in a world so full of empty words where promises are broken every day.”
Jesus kept His words, His promises, and proved His love is real at Calvary—the ultimate action of sacrifice and love. The words of Jesus recorded in John 15:13 are a prophecy about Himself, who would soon lay down His own life, referring here to His own death. And, also, there is a “call” here to all Christians to be selfless in love, and serve others. Jesus is very transparent in this portion of Scripture, and keeps no secrets from His commandment-keeping friends (John 15:14-15). All acts of kindness motivated by agape love and shown to another person are selfless actions, and demonstrate God’s love (1 John 3:16-18).
The Call to Love Others
Anyone showing love from their personal resources—be it money, material, time, or praying with others—will soon realize that their faith has grown. And once you start this “missionary” endeavor, you will quickly discover from your gift of charity (love) that no one can ever outgive God, for God is love (1 John 4:7-8).
The apostle Paul promoted the good will of others as mentioned in Philippians 2:4 ESV — “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” If there hadn’t been a story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) as told by Jesus, this world may never have had the hospital that carries the title, Good Samaritan Hospital.
Stop Talking and Start Walking
There’s always time in each of our lives to apply these principles of giving, and it’s never too late for learning the excitement of caring for the needs of others—finding the blessing of putting others first.
We can even apply these principles within our own churches, and wherever we may be, like we’ve been asked of Jesus in Matthew 25:40 ESV — “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, YOU DID IT TO ME.’ “ Based on this verse alone, if you put it into practice to console another soul, you will find a blessing that there won’t be room enough in your heart and mind to contain it.
And what we read in James 2:15-16 gives ample reason why a believer would be unwise to ignore the poor. Those two verses in James have this to say: “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?”
The bottom line
Ecclesiastes 12:13 KJV — “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” And in the book of Acts we read (Acts 20:35 ESV), “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ “
R Scott Holder writes on a variety of spiritual topics.