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GIVING TO THE NEEDY

Date: March 20

Category: Godly Character

Deuteronomy 24:19
"When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the stranger and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands."

Slobodan & Ljiljana KrstevskiIn this passage, we read that God cares for the strangers, the sojourners, the fatherless, and the widows. Because God cares about them so should we. In James 1:27b, the Bible says that true and lasting religion is "to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need…" That means providing them with whatever they may be in need of. If they need food, then provide them with food. If they need clothing, then give them some clothing. If they need shelter, then offer them shelter. That is pure and lasting religion James says. And that is what God wants us to do according to this verse of Deuteronomy.

During Moses' time, the children of Israel all had a field. That was where they worked and provided for themselves. When they collected from their fields, they sometimes missed some things. Some of their harvest got left behind in their collecting. But God told them not to go back and pick those things up. Instead, He wanted them to leave those things for others.

Who were they left for? They were left for the people in the land who didn't have a field. It could have been because they were strangers to the land, they were fatherless, or they were widowed. Every society will have some people who fall into those categories. Those are the people that were supposed to receive what the children of Israel left behind. And those are the people that we should help today.

But notice that that was how God provided for those needy people. He provided for them through His own people. Today, God will use each one of us to help somebody in need. You don't have to be rich to help the needy. Everyone can do something. Everyone can make a contribution to an orphan, a widow, a stranger, or a sojourner. We should share from what God has given us. That's what God wants us to do.

If we hold onto everything we have and we never share then it means that we're selfish. Really, each one of us is selfish in our own sinful nature. But as believers in Christ, it's not right to stay selfish. God teaches us to share and help others who have genuine needs.

People with genuine needs could be those who try to find work and bring in an income but are still poor. They can be victims of a natural disaster, such as an earthquake or a flooding, or people who are victims of war and have lost everything because of it. Those are the people we should help. It would be foolish to help someone who isn't in financial need or someone who is in financial need because they squandered their money carelessly or because they drink their money away. Those aren't people with genuine needs. God wants us to help those who sincerely need help – the stranger, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.

God wants to use you and me today to help those who are needy just like He used the children of Israel at the time of Deuteronomy. God doesn't give us the ability to create wealth so that we can keep it for ourselves. He gives us the ability to create wealth so that we can bless others – particularly those who need it.

Selfishness is the root of unhappiness in life. Find an unhappy person, and you'll learn that their most distinctive characteristic is selfishness. But find a generous person, and you'll learn that they have true happiness in their lives. There's a great sense of satisfaction in our hearts when we know that we've helped someone in need and especially when we know that we've obeyed God in that generosity. Joy fills our hearts when we allow God to use us to bless someone else.

The last part of this verse tells us what will happen when we allow God to bless someone else through what we have. It says, "that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands." So you are going to succeed even more in your work when you bless someone else. In whatever you do, you will achieve even greater success because God will bless all the work of your hands. God promises that when you bless others, He will bless you.

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