Read Proverbs 16 – 19
Note chapter 16 has a lot of from the Lord, but the Lord, to the Lord, or in the Lord. The rich, the poor, the wicked, the just, fools, wise, truth or false; all are spoken of here. Lots of living is covered. It says the lazy sleep so sound they go hungry (19:15) and some are so lazy they won't lift a finger to feed themselves (19:24). We're told if we stop listening to instruction we've turned our back on knowledge (19:20,27). Can you find some that touch you?
He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again (Prov. 19:17).
As believers, we are called to help those who are less fortunate than ourselves. There are many places throughout the Word of God that compel us to give to the needy. This is a great part of the Christ-like lifestyle.
We have a God that has instructed every believer to act as a servant to their fellow man. This does not mean that we are enslaved to the world. It means that we reach out to those in need as the Lord has enabled us to help.
There are many times we might be driving down the road and see a man holding a sign that says "hungry." Seeing this may bring on a wide range of emotions. Some may see them in their dirty and torn clothes and be disgusted. Others may look and be fearful that the person might harm or rob them. Some may even think, "why doesn't that person just get a job." Are any of these a proper response for the believer?
The answer of course is no. Does the Bible command those who follow Christ to judge without information, or does the Bible command the follower of Christ to love without condition? A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another (John 13:34-35). The love of Christ is unconditional. Therefore, the Scripture commands that ours should be also.
We are told in the Book of Proverbs that when we are giving to the poor we are, in fact, giving to the Lord. The Word of God often teaches us that we are to be like Jesus to the world. When we do these things, for those that He loves, it is as if we are doing them for Jesus Himself.
The Lord tells us that when we do good to the least in society then we are doing it for Him. There is also a warning that to not do good is as if we are neglecting Him (Matt. 25:31-46). This is a command from God. Our personal feelings on the subject should not hinder the outcome. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil (Luke 6:35).
Not only should our personal feelings not interfere with the end result, our thoughts themselves should be altered. We are not called to see things as they are. God desires us to see with our hearts. When we do this, we will realize that every godly action grows the kingdom of God. We are sowing seeds in the Lord's garden and He will reap the harvest.
Thought for Today:
In order to have friends we must show ourselves friendly to others. (Prov. 18:21)
As the One who punishes the proud (Prov. 16:5). Jesus said: Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased (humbled); and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted (Luke 14:11). As the Friend that sticketh closer than a brother (Prov. 18:24), Jesus is our Friend (John 15:14-15) and will never leave (us), nor forsake (us) (Heb. 13:5).
16:2 spirits, motives; 16:8 without right, dishonestly gained; 17:18 striketh hands . . . surety, gives a pledge to be responsible for his neighbor’s debts; 18:2 discover itself, express itself; 18:3 with ignominy reproach, with dishonor and disgrace; 19:3 fretteth, is resentful; 19:7 they are wanting to him, they abandon him; 19:13 a continual dropping, an unending irritation.
Prayer Suggestion: Bless the Lord at all times regardless of circumstances (Ps. 34:1).
Optional Reading: Hebrews 1
Memory Verse for the Week: Galatians 6:9