God blesses us when we consider the poor.
There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore, I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.
Deuteronomy 15:11 NIV
I met a friend at a restaurant for an evening get-together. We were among the few who ventured out on a chilly winter night. After ordering, we found our seats. Within minutes, the food arrived with its tantalizing aroma. Taking that first bite, my “mmmm” came out louder than I intended. Laughter ensued.
Then, a gentleman came inside and sat adjacent to us. Quietly, he minded his business, staying focused on his phone. The bags he placed at his feet told me he was homeless. My curiosity was piqued as I looked around. Would anyone speak to him? Would anyone offer him something to eat? People walked by, glanced over, but didn’t acknowledge him. He, in turn, didn’t acknowledge them.
Suddenly, a little girl ran from her dad, giggling loudly as she passed the homeless man. He smiled at her antics. The dad called her, and she returned, giggling some more. Then, He picked her up and walked past the man. The man smiled at the dad and little girl but was met with disregard.
What a shame. A smile never hurts anyone. Instead, he could have tried showing his daughter what compassion towards others looks like. But he walked on and headed out the door. The man went back to his phone, indifferent to what had happened. He was probably accustomed to it. Others walked by too, but no one said a word.
Jesus told us the poor would always be among us and that we were to be generous to them. The man emitted no offensive odor and wore decent clothes. He was nicely shaven and had on clean clothes and shoes. But his jacket didn’t appear adequate to keep him warm. Perhaps, that’s why he came into the restaurant. I was just grateful no one told him to leave.
God created us in His likeness, meaning He wove kindness and generosity into our innermost being. The basis of Jesus’ ministry entailed loving and serving others. Therefore, He commands us to do the same.
I finally walked over to the man and asked if I could buy him a meal. He politely declined. I asked again, offering to buy him coffee, chili, or French fries. He smiled but still refused. I smiled back and returned to my table. Maybe he had already eaten.
When my friend and I prepared to leave, an elderly couple approached the gentleman and asked if they could get him anything to eat. He declined their offer also. It made my heart glad to see someone else have compassion.
Jesus was right. We will always have the poor among us. Each one of them has a story we know nothing about–a hardship perhaps from no fault of their own. Instead of assuming, ridiculing, or criticizing, we can look within and ask how we would like people to treat us if adversity came our way. Most of us need help when circumstances bring us to situations we didn’t ask for.
Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble, the Lord delivers him.
Psalms 41:1 ESV
What are some ways you can find compassion in your heart to consider the poor and do something nice?
Jesus, I pray I will find generosity in my heart to give from my abundance to someone less fortunate. In Jesus’ name, amen
Copyright 2023: Consider the Poor: Sandra Stein: All Rights Reserved