“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
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 NIV
Jesus, Himself, told us that we would always have poor people around who would need our help. He also gave us some priorities. There are many avenues that we can take in our giving. We can give to the poor, we can give to the church, we can give to bless a minister of the Gospel, we can give to help a non-believer, we can give to help or bless a fellow believer, we can give to a family member and we can give to a stranger. God counts it all as if we are giving it to Him! Giving is giving and we need to be willing to give every time an opportunity presents itself. In this case, the woman anointed Jesus with very expensive perfume and some of those present were indignant because they felt that it was a waste. It was their opinion that it because it was worth more than a year’s wages, that it could rather have been sold and the money given to the poor. Jesus did not agree with them. He told them that the woman was anointing Him for His burial and also that this was a testimony that would be remembered and told all over the world for as long as the Gospel was preached.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19 NIV
If you are poor – it is because you are lacking in one or more areas. You could be lacking spiritually, mentally, emotionally or materially. Men could be used by God to make up your material lack. Mentally and emotionally, men can help you to a limited degree. But only God can do a work in your spirit. What men can do is to give to support the preaching of the Gospel so that the poor in spirit should be poor no more! As believers, we must give to the poor to meet their material need and also their spiritual need.
However, there should be no poor among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, 5 if only you fully obey the LORD your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today. 6 For the LORD your God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. You will rule over many nations but none will rule over you. 7 If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. 8 Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs. 9 Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward your needy brother and give him nothing. He may then appeal to the LORD against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. 10 Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. 11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land. Deuteronomy 15:4-11 NIV
The Lord says that there will always be poor people in the land. However, He also says that there should be no poor among us because of His plans to bless us all. God’s plan for us requires our obedience. Firstly, we must honor Him and His word and give Him first place in our lives and our giving so that He has a right to do what He desires to do in and for us. Our giving to His kingdom gives God the right to bless us as He sees fit. Secondly, we must work with our hands to make an avenue of blessing for Him to use because He promises to bless the work of our hands. Thirdly, we must generously and openhandedly share the blessings we have received to make sure that our brothers and sisters in the Lord do not lack. God blesses you to bless you and yours and He also blesses you so that you can give and share and be a blessing to others.
“When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus23:22 NIV
The Lord’s blessing is on the cheerfully, generous person who thinks of others and not just himself or herself. God has blessed you – make sure that take every opportunity to bless others!
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written: “He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-9 NIV