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]
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]
Abraham was blessed to be a blessing. Oftentimes I find myself remembering this truth. We too are blessed to be a blessing. When we realize that we have been blessed by God, and that nothing is ours, but rather everything is His, then naturally this blessing should flow through our fingers and bless others. This is not simply a nice idea—it is the way life was meant to be lived.
Jesus makes it clear that we are not to build our kingdom here on earth, because the earth is our temporary residence. Rather, our treasures are heavenly treasures. The world tells us otherwise—the world desires that we max out credit cards to compete with our neighbors for the newest of things, the biggest of houses, the fanciest of cars. The world tells us we should look out for ourselves and water our own flower bed. This verse tells us the “one who waters will himself be watered.”
When we open our hands to another person, we open up the doors for the blessing to be multiplied in a few ways. As we bless someone, this blessing may be paid forward. As we bless someone, this blessing will turn around and bless us. We feel joy when we give to others. We feel joy when we are able to act in lovingkindness. When we don’t cling tightly to the blessings God has bestowed upon us, He continues to rain down blessings so we are enriched, so we are well-watered. Who shall you water today?
“Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” – Proverbs 11:25 [ESV]
There are people all over the world who need help. There are people right in front of you that need help. Proverbs tells us that we should “never walk away from someone who deserves help.” If there is a person before you, “your hand is God’s hand for that person.”
Do you consider yourself the hands and feet of Christ? We each are called to serve, to love, to help those in need. “Don’t tell your neighbor ‘maybe some other time.’” If the “money’s right there in your pocket” it should be so easy to pull it out and bless that person. That is why God put it there in the first place. You have been blessed to be a blessing.
Each day I see people in great need and I see those who could help. Sadly many of those moments end with the needy person walking away without assistance. God places many people before us each day, many people we can touch with His hands. We can show love—it requires action, it requires being intentional, it requires compassion. Get your God’s hands ready. It’s time to help someone.
“Never walk away from someone who deserves help;
your hand is God’s hand for that person.
Don’t tell your neighbor ‘Maybe some other time’
or ‘Try me tomorrow’
when the money’s right there in your pocket.
Don’t figure ways of taking advantage of your neighbor
when he’s sitting there trusting and unsuspecting.”
-Proverbs 3:27-29 [MSG]
This past week was a difficult one for me. My routine was missing in action. Sleep escaped me. My level of pain was at its highest. We were relocating. I was working every day, all day. It was draining.
I was standing at work in pain, tired and dreading the end of my shift when I would return home to move more stuff to the new place. I asked a friend if she had some hard candy like a Lifesaver, because my throat was dry. Little did I know, a customer was listening to the conversation. As I finished with his order, he handed me the Lifesavers. I argued that it was against policy to accept things from customers. He then said he would leave them sit for me, that it was his policy to be nice. Jokingly, the lady behind him said she liked Three Musketeers. I was amazed as I spied him picking up yet another small gift to bring another smile around.
My day was not going well. I was exhausted and found myself on the verge of tears, nearly falling asleep standing, and wearing more braces than ever before because my body was feeling the week’s work. Then here came this fellow who became a lifesaver for a moment. His attitude and generosity had a great impact on me and the other customer. One small gesture had a ripple effect. It was a great reminder of our great Lifesaver. The gentleman paid attention to those around him and took action. It did not cost him a lot of money. It did not cost him a lot of time. This reminds me of something Mother Teresa said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
“My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.” – 1 John 4:7 [MSG]
We see many people not hold back. Many times it is when someone is having a tantrum or voicing an opinion. Then there are those who don’t hold back at the all-you-can-eat buffet. There are those who don’t hold back when they are racing or competing in sports. Not holding back means doing it all. It could be eating it all, giving it all, saying it all.
In today’s passage, we read about the Israelites who responded to Hezekiah’s command with generous hands. “They didn’t hold back, turning over a tithe of everything,” the Bible says. They gave the firstfruits of everything—EVERYTHING! There was so much stuff that was dedicated to God that it was piled in mounds. Look at the time involved—over three months of piling items. Talk about not holding back.
When I read of this it brings me great joy. I always love to read about people who are so generous and giving. It is such a special thing to give; it is a gift to give. I always get more joy from giving than from keeping. Sadly the statistics show that most people hold back a lot. I have heard it said if everyone tithed without holding back, giving the ten percent, people would be cared for and there would not be all of the situations we see all around the world. You might think that ten percent is a lot. You might think you cannot do it. But trust me, when you do it, God sees you through. You always have just what you need. So don’t hold back. Live with your hands open.
“As soon as Hezekiah’s orders had gone out, the Israelites responded generously: firstfruits of the grain harvest, new wine, oil, honey—everything they grew. They didn’t hold back, turning over a tithe of everything. They also brought in a tithe of their cattle, sheep, and anything else they owned that had been dedicated to God. Everything was sorted and piled in mounds. They started doing this in the third month and didn’t finish until the seventh month.”
-2 Chronicles 31:5-7 [MSG]
There was a great visual demonstration that a pastor once shared with me, and it will always stick with me. It has to do with open hands. He said if you have your hands closed, you are unable to receive blessings. You hold on to what you have and deny yourself from receiving what God has for you. Ever since I first heard this, I have carried it with me.
Today’s passage tells us that if we “give freely” that we will “become more wealthy.” We live in a society that says to save everything you have, invest, store up, get more, have more, and that’s how you be more. Culture tries to get us to build up a fortress here on earth. But God tells us otherwise. This passage says that if you are “stingy” you are going to “lose everything.” This isn’t just a scare tactic to get you to tithe more. If you put your energy into storing up here on earth, you will soon find that the moths can eat it all.
You become so much more wealthy if you freely give, recognizing that nothing is yours. I recently heard a response from a pastor that speaks volumes. His daughter said her day was going badly. He reminded her that it wasn’t “her” day. It was God’s day. Each day is God’s day and He gives it to us as a gift. The same goes with everything else. He gives it all to us. So give freely and see just how wealthy you will be for living life with open hands.
“Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything.” – Proverbs 11:24 [NLT]
“When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.” – Psalm 104:28 [NIV]
If you have your hands closed, chances are it is going to be hard for you to grasp something. You have to open your hands up to have something placed in them. You have to have your hands open to receive something. As well, you have to have your hands free for you to help someone. Closed hands aren’t so helpful.
Today’s verse makes reference to God opening His hands to provide food to all creatures. The Psalmist notes that when He opens His hand, His people are “satisfied with good things.” Consider the good things that God has blessed you with—food, shelter, provisions, friends, family, skills, etc. Remember His open hands and do likewise. Open your hands for someone today.
A fellow classmate brought up an interesting point today. He said that it was interesting that when John the Baptist was asked if he was Elijah, he denied it, but then Jesus said that John the Baptist was in fact Elijah. From this, he said that he felt that John the Baptist did not understand the “bigness” of his mission.
I thought about it for awhile and it got me to consider how we serve. We always seem to want to do big things for God. When we look for something to do with the church, we want to be the next Peter or Paul or John. We want to be Elijah or David. We don’t imagine a small role, because if we serve, we want to serve big.
The problem is that it is not our will and it is not about us at all. When we serve, we are serving God. It doesn’t matter how big or how small the matter. Did Peter or James know how big their roles would be for the early church? Did Paul realise that we would be studying His writings so many years to come? Were these men looking to be the biggest, or were they serving their awesome God? Were they filling the needs or were they trying to venture to be the most well known?
When we serve, we serve out of love– love for our Father. We don’t know how many it will touch and what the impact will be in the end. We simply serve. God will use those who let Him. Let yourself be used. See what He does. You may not know how far your service reaches, and maybe it will be something small– but no matter how big or small the role, you are serving a loving Father. That is what matters. Open your hands– let Him fill them.
“As each one has received a special gift, empty it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do it as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” – 1 Peter 4:10-11 [NASB]