Sunday, 19 April 2020
If you help the poor, you are lending to the LORD—
and he will repay you! (NLT)
Announcing the best investment in the worst of time! Are you looking for a full-proof investment that guarantees perpetual returns? Stock Markets around the world has been badly affected by the Coronavirus. The market is very uncertain. Some governments are offering bonds for people to invest in. Are you willing to “lend to the Lord?” Proverbs 19.17 says, that when you give to the poor, you are lending to the Lord, and with the assurance of paying back with interest. King Solomon is telling us about a fully secure investment that yields huge profit now and for eternity. This investment scheme is very simple.
“Help the poor = lending to the Lord.” Who are the poor? In the Old Testament, the poor is referred to as weak, lean, needy poor (man) weaker. In the New Testament poor is used as least (in size, amount, dignity, etc) – least, very little(small), smallest. First, there is material poverty. The poor are those who are hungry, homeless, the naked or lacking adequate clothing. The second, spiritual poverty is something good. A person who is poor in the spirit recognizes our utter dependence is on God, acknowledging that He is the Creator and in Him, we live, move, and have our being. Everything we have and own is graciously given to us from Him. The spiritually poor person will say “Amen” to what Jesus says, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” The third poverty is relational in nature. As described in Proverbs 19:4, 6, 7 (NLT), it says,
4 Wealth makes many “friends”;
poverty drives them all away.
6 Many seek favors from a ruler;
everyone is the friend of a person who gives gifts!
7 The relatives of the poor despise them;
how much more will their friends avoid them!
Though the poor plead with them,
their friends are gone.
These three verses talk about relational poverty. When we are poor, our social network collapses, and our friends disappear. This leads to loneliness. Nobody wants to hang out with us. Our voice is silent. We cry for help but no one hears. People tend to close their eyes and their ears to the poor. The rights of the poor are trampled upon. The poor are side-lined and often despised. Being alone they have poor interpersonal skill. Not only they need help but no one wants to help them. Therefore, there are three types of poverty, material, spiritual and relational in nature. (CJ Brown)
Solomon appeals to us, to be on the lookout for the poor and be generous to them. “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his deed.” Pro. 19.17 (ESV)
With what attitude should we give to the poor? Be a generous person, he gives cheerfully and willingly. Generosity is the ability to give freely and help gladly to meet a need for someone else out of your own pocket or resources. It is easy to give away other persons or organizations resources. But we hold on tightly to our own. Giving grudgingly is not generosity. By the way, giving tithes to God is not generosity, because the tithe is what we owe to God. It is not a gift we give him. It is what is due to Him. As your pastor, I appeal to you to give freely, cheerfully and generously to real needs in our country and beyond during this pandemic.
When you give to the poor, God becomes our debtor. Giving to the poor is lending to God or He is the borrower. Now having given to the poor, God will have to repay you. This is God’s promise. He will repay you here and hereafter.
The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” – Matthew 25:40 (NIV)
There is this recorded incident in 1 Samuel chapter 1 and 2. Hannah prayed to God to give her a son. And God did. She brought young Samuel to Eli the priest and left her son with Eli. Hannah said, “Now I am giving him to the LORD, and he will belong to the LORD his whole life.” And they worshipped the LORD there. 1 Sam.1.28
Hannah gave her only son then back to God. God in return gave her more than ever. Hannah’s experience is a way that God blesses a cheerful giver. This is what the Bible says,
Before they returned home, Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, “May the LORD give you other children to take the place of this one she gave to the LORD.” And the LORD blessed Hannah, and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, Samuel grew up in the presence of the LORD. 1 Sam. 2.20-21
I pray that you will discover the joy of giving to the Lord. You can never out-give God. “You can give without loving but you cannot love without giving.” Harold Sala
Luke 6:38 New Living Translation (NLT)
38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.[a]”
Prayer for today
Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for the Lord’s Day. We have set aside this day for corporate worship. Due to the Coronavirus, we are not able to be physically together. We praise you, even we are physically separated in each of our homes. We are still together worshipping in the unity of spirit. Help us to come with clean hands and clean hearts to worship you. We lift up the worship team and brother Prathab to you as he ministers to us with your word. We yearn to have a fresh encounter with you in worship.
We thank you, Lord, the whole world is yours and all who live in it. You watch over everyone, the rich and the poor. Forgive us, Lord, there are times, we fail to see the needs of the poor around us. You love to see us share with those who are in need. Make us be generous persons who would seek to fill other people with good things. When we give to the poor and needy, we give to you. We are grateful you have given your Son Jesus Christ to us we are forever indebted to you.
Heavenly Father, we are thankful for blessing us! Make us a blessing to the people around us! Open our eyes, Lord, to the opportunities for sharing Your blessings, may it be in time, money or words of encouragement, knowing that there is plenty more for me stored up in Heaven.
Matthew 25:35-40 New Living Translation (NLT)
35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ 37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,[a] you were doing it to me!’
Lord, thank you for the joy and privilege to serve you by helping the poor and needy during this difficult time of the pandemic. Use us, for your glory!
In Jesus’ Name. Amen
Pastor Isaac Yim
这三节经文谈到了关系上的贫乏。当我们贫穷时，我们的社交网络崩溃了，我们的朋友也消失了。这将导致孤独。没有人愿意和我们一起玩。我们的声音是沉默的。我们哭喊着寻求帮助，但却没人听到。人们倾向于对穷人闭上眼睛和耳朵。穷人的权利受到践踏。穷人被边缘化，经常被鄙视。一个人时他们的人际交往能力很差。他们需要帮助，然而没人愿意帮助他们。因此，存在着三种类型的贫乏：物质贫乏，灵命贫乏和关系贫乏。 （CJ Brown）
我祈祷你会发现奉献给主的喜悦。 “你可以无爱心的付出，但是若你没有付出就不能爱。”Harold Sala