When you have the power to do something for someone who deserves it, the Bible tells us to just do it. Help them. Do not withhold good. It sounds like a grand idea, but yet we often fall short. We will tell people maybe later or we will totally dismiss the thought of helping at all. At times, when we say, “Come back tomorrow,” we have no intentions of even seeing the person the next day, thanks to the practice of avoidance.
Note that this passage does not tell you to enable people. Remember that the Bible speaks against enablement. This passage is also not talking about helping people when you do not have the power to help. There are times when you cannot help someone—but thankfully you can always pray for them! It is made clear in this passage that for us to help, we must have the power to help them, and that they must deserve it. Don’t mistake this word “deserve” to mean they are owed something. None of us are deserving. We are all blessed by God.
Today, don’t procrastinate with your giving if you have the power to help others who are in need. Open your hands. If you spend your life clinging to that which was meant to be passed on, you will lose something bigger than what you are clenching.
“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, ‘Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.’” – Proverbs 3:27-28 [NLT]
As I sat at my desk going through my task list, I noticed an elderly woman approaching the office door. Was she coming inside? She is not a client. I went to the door to greet her and figure out who she was and what she needed. She saw a van parked outside our office just leave, and she thought that we were the business advertised on the van. I informed her that the company was only visiting our office to do some work and apologized.
As we were about to part ways, she told me she was having a tough time. She recently moved and she was struggling to get everything in order. She was hoping to catch the man in the van, or get some answers from his associates within, only to discover she wasn’t close to the place to find answers. Nonetheless, the Spirit gave me a nudge to help her out. Little did she know; the answers were online. She was led to share her struggles. I needed to listen to the voice telling me to slow down and pay attention. In no time at all, she had the answers in hand and it was time for her to leave. It was a simple encounter, and it was easy to help her. Five minutes. But she was so grateful and she left with a smile.
We often have these encounters with strangers. Do you consider why they are brought your way? Some people are in your path to help you grow. Some people are in your path for you to bless. Some people are in your path for you to shine the Light. Don’t trivialize evangelism. Don’t think sharing the Gospel is all about big demonstrations with fancy words. Small encounters with strangers, embracing and showing compassion—these encounters are precious. Do small things with great love and watch God move in mighty ways.
“And do everything with love.” – 1 Corinthians 16:14 [NLT]
Whenever I get to the pet store, I like to get a special treat for both of the pups. Today I decided I would get both of the dogs a large bone that I previously got for Max in the past. I always hesitated getting one for Marci because she is so small. It turned out that when I got Max one, Marci would take it and drag it all over the living room enjoying some chew time.
I quickly found out that when there are two bones, the dynamics change. All the sudden Marci, who was blessed to have this large bone for the first time, became a bit greedy. When she saw Max move away to lay down in one of his favorite spots, she took his bone and pulled it over to her bone. In doing so, she left him know that the bones were now both hers. Oddly enough, Max is insecure and Marci often gets the best of him. We found ourselves having to give Max his bone back and tell Marci to mind her manners.
The Bible speaks often of the sin of greed. John the Baptist said if you have two shirts, give one away. If you have food, share with those who are hungry. Abraham was blessed to be a blessing and so are we. We have a choice. We can choose to follow the teaching of the world, which points us to building castles here on earth and practice habits of greed. We can choose to live a life of generosity. When we open our hands, ceasing the ever-so-tight grip on the possessions of this world, we find that our open hands receive greater blessings and it is a pure joy to share as the Spirit leads. Bless someone today!
“John replied, ‘If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.’” – Luke 3:11 [NLT]
More Than a Story is a 12 week study of the parables of Jesus. This is the first week: RICHNESS.
More Than a Story: Richness
[The Rich Fool: Luke 12:13-21]
BE ON GUARD AGAINST COVETOUSNESS
Covetousness – desire to have more than you have
LIFE DOES NOT CONSIST OF ABUNDANCE OF POSSESSIONS
Possessions are useless when life is gone
Cannot truly live when fixated on possessions
- Focused on protecting what you have
- Focused on getting more – never enough
- Focus is idolatry – God doesn’t have 1st place in life
Rich man called a fool. Jesus says, “So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God” (v. 21 ESV). He’s not called fool for being productive or profitable.
Matthew 6:19-21: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” [NIV]
Notice that the rich fool is not just called a fool; he’s a fool who loses his soul.
Our possessions: Time – Treasure – Talents
These can be hazardous or helpful. You decide.
Hazardous = It becomes your life <<OR>> Helpful = 1 Timothy 6:17-19
“Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life.” [MSG]
True Life — Eternal Life Life is knowing God
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3 NIV).
“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8 NLT).
Bible Study Questions:
1) The brother who approached Jesus at the beginning of the passage was covetous. The “rich fool” in the parable told by Jesus was also covetous. Jesus said to “be on your guard against all covetousness” (v. 15).
What are some instances when we are covetous?
How can we be on guard against this covetousness?
2) When reading verses 17-19, what words stick out to you?
3) What was the focus of both the brother and the “rich fool”?
4) Can one be “rich” in possessions (“treasure” – money) and still be rich toward God? If so, how?
5) How can we be rich toward God?
6) John 17:3 says that eternal life is knowing God and Jesus Christ. What does that mean? What is the difference between knowing of God, knowing about God, or truly knowing God? How does that look in our lives?
More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.
We can all be a little self-centered. We can all get lazy due to over-exhaustion. There are moments when we do not feel like doing something. Today’s passage tells us not to without good from someone who deserves it. If it is in our power to help a person who deserves something, we are not to withhold it. But is that always the case? Do we always provide good help to others? Are we always there for others?
When it is time to collect for a food drive, do we go out and buy things that we eat or do we get something that we would never consume? I’ve seen some disgusting things in the collection box. When we are donating clothing, do we donate clothing that is usable or things that should be tossed in the trash? There are moments in our lives when we are able to do so much more, when it is in our power to do so much, but we only give a little.
Today let us consider where we are withholding good. Where can we help more? Where can we do more? Do not withhold good from those who deserve it. It’s in your power to help them. It’s your choice.
“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them.” – Proverbs 3:27 [NLT]
I was blown away last month by an awesome display of Christian service. I serve the Lord and I see so many others serving the Lord. We are told to go above and beyond but we do not see it so often. I know many times I could do and give and say more. I was blessed to see it last month and I must say I was amazed to see how God used a few people.
I needed to have my car inspected. Only having one car and doing everything alone can pose a problem, especially with getting to work. Plus I am not mechanically inclined so I have no idea what all needs to be done for inspection. There was also possible issues that needed resolved for the full inspection to pass. A dear brother and sister in Christ opted to assist with the inspection. I figured I would take the car to him and he would get things ready for inspection and I would take it to the inspection shop. I assumed I would pay him for parts and he would bless me with reduced or free labor. Instead, his wife and I exchanged vehicles. He repaired all that needed repaired. He took it to the inspection shop. They paid for the parts, for the inspection, and even filled up the gas tank before returning my car. A person who could not even afford the regular price for a simple inspection was given special treatment with additional servicing and extra gasoline. What a blessing! I could do nothing much to return to the favor.
This blessing reminded me of Jesus’ saying about doing for others what they couldn’t repay. I prayed for the couple and I continue to pray for them. That is all I can do. I’ve been in their shoes before and I must say it is rewarding. You cannot know how rewarding until you try it yourself. Be warned—the devil will try to deter your open hands. But keep pressing through and you will see how awesome it is to pour out in abundance what God has given to you. Such a great feeling! My car got inspected, but so much more happened. So much more!
“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.” – Luke 14:13-14 [NIV]
“He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.” – 1 Peter 2:24 [NLT]
When I walked into the grocery store, I was unable to move. There was a lady who walked into the entrance and she found a regular sized shopping cart at the doorway. She didn’t want to use the cart; she wanted the smaller shopping cart. She took the large cart said, “This isn’t mine” and pushed it in front of all of us entering from the opposite entrance rather than simply moving it to the side. It was as if to say, “You deal with it” or “it’s not my responsibility.” Remember, the cart wasn’t hers.
We all do this at times. We walk by and see someone who needs help, but we do not see it as our responsibility. A co-worker drops the report on the floor but it’s not our responsibility to help her get it all picked up—she dropped it we remind ourselves. An elderly man in the parking lot is having problems but we keep going. We see trash on the street but we did not put it there so why should we gather it up and put it in the bin?
Sadly this lack of responsibility has spread around and has become the attitude of many. Today remember that Jesus came here to save us from our own mess. He did not say that it was not His responsibility. He did not pass by those in need. He did not push aside what was right before His eyes because it was not His own making. He reached out. He helped. He paid attention. He didn’t say, “This isn’t mine.” He “personally carried our sins.” We each got personal attention.
“They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read.” – Nehemiah 8:8 [NIV]
I love this scene. They were gathered together reading God’s Word, and there were actually people there trying to make sure that the people understood what was being read to them. Some people cannot read. Some people cannot understand what they read. They may pronounce the words properly. They may be able to read everything on the page, but they might not understand what they just read. The comprehension is important. The NLT says “clearly explained the meaning” and “helping the people understand each passage.” Each passage. I just love this.
It is important for us to understand what we read, whether it is a letter from our insurance provider, our bank statements, an article in the newspaper, a work memo… and it is crucial that we understand what the Bible says. We can read it every day, but we need to be able to understand it to actually apply it.
If you notice in Nehemiah 8, first they read the Law, then they interpret the Law, and then they apply the Law. This is what Bible reading is all about. This is exactly how we are to read our Bibles. First we read His word, then we see what God has to say to us in the context of the passage, and then we then apply it to our lives—we do what He says. Read – Understand – Apply! That’s why it is important that we understand. If you don’t understand, don’t hide and pretend; seek out some godly assistance, purchase a reputable Bible commentary, and pray about it. Read – Understand – Apply!