"Whoever is kind to the poor, lends to the Lord, and He will reward them for what they have done."
Before we begin to look at the verse for this week, I think it is important for those of us who are reading this to realize just how rich we are. Yes, mentally we understand the fact that most of the world does not live with the luxury that we do...but we are nowhere near the top. In fact, it's easy for us to look at anyone above us with a slight bit of contempt. Even though we might not even vocalize it, some part of us smiles when the rich are brought down. I'm not saying that is right. In fact...it's absolutely wrong and sinful to have an envious spirit like that. However, fight it we must, because the tendency toward that attitude lurks just under the surface.
There's only one problem with that envious line of thinking even if it weren't sinful in and of itself...
I'M ONE OF THE SUPER RICH!
Did you know that I am the 242,608,696th richest person in the world!? That puts me in the top 4.04% of the richest people in the world! I'm not sure exactly how accurate that is, but judging by other statistics that I've seen and heard, I feel like it's pretty close.
Wanna have some fun? Click here to find out where you rank in the world.Ok, now that we've had a reality check let's deal with this other issue of who we are definitely not no matter how many times we've stated "I'm starving," or "I'm broke." What about those who actually are poor? Those who are struggling to get enough to eat. Look at this statistic from 2010:
Despite years of progress against hunger, in 2010, it is estimated that 925 million people suffer from hunger. This is due to a sudden spike in global food prices and the onset of a world-wide economic crisis. United Nations Food and Agricultural OrganizationDo you know what my reaction to a number as big as 925 million is? I can't comprehend it, therefore I don't react to it. We hear about global poverty all of the time. But that's just the problem. It's global. Even if the Gateses and Buffetts and all of the other 1%ers of the US voluntarily shared their wealth with the poor, would it even make a dent in the lives of 925 million? Probably not. So what could I do with only a small fraction of what they have!? For the entire world? I couldn't even cause a ripple. But I could sure change the path of at least one life. I'm absolutely sure of that.
Now let's talk investments. How is your retirement fund? What does your bank account look like? Have you saved enough for a rainy day? This is not a knock on saving, investing, or being prepared. Other Proverbs give instructions to do just those things. However, when we are talking about the safest investment in the world...it's probably not in a 401k. It's by following Jesus' instructions to lend without expecting to receive anything in return and to give to those who ask (Matthew 5:42, Luke 6:35). The inspired writer of this Proverb (just as a refresher- if the writer is "inspired" it is equivalent to saying that God said it) says that whoever is kind to the poor is "lending to the Lord!" Not only that but "He will reward them for what they have done."
Are we so foolhardy to think that an investment in the stock market which shows about as much consistency as the weather pattern will give a better return than the God of all creation!?
No, I think the actual problem is that we don't really believe it.Either we don't actually believe in God, in the power of God, or that the words he had written in the Bible are actually His words. If we did believe that God is real, that He is as powerful as we say He is, and that the Bible is His word to us then giving to the poor would not be such a burden for us. It wouldn't take a guilt trip of realizing how wealthy we actually are because we would willingly give it away in order to become even more wealthy! That's what this passage means. It's what Jesus' statement about laying up treasures in heaven means. Do we believe it?
I probably can't make much of a difference in the world. After all, I'm "just" in the middle class. But there is absolutely no doubt that you and I can both make a significant impact on the life of at least a handful of people. Let's VOW to keep our eyes open this week for an investment opportunity that God puts in front of us. Let's choose to become richer through Godly investments instead of choosing to protect the immense wealth that we already have. And let's look forward to the reward that God has in store for us.