“If there is a poor person among you, one of your brothers within any of your gates in the land the LORD your God is giving you, you must not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Instead, you are to open your hand to him and freely loan him enough for whatever need he has. Be careful that there isn’t this wicked thought in your heart, ‘The seventh year, the year of canceling debts, is near,’ and you are stingy toward your poor brother and give him [nothing]. He will cry out to the LORD against you, and you will be guilty. Give to him, and don’t have a stingy heart when you give, and because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you do. For there will never cease to be poor people in the land; that is why I am commanding you, ‘You must willingly open your hand to your afflicted and poor brother in your land.’â€ Â Â Â Â Deuteronomy 15:7-11 (HCSB)
I wonder how many of us would admit to buying and wrapping mounds of presents for those we love and then as we collect the discarded and ripped paper and bows on Christmas morning and our spirits are not particularly joyous, as the commercials promised we would be. Instead our children are complaining that they did not receive the outrageously expensive game that their friend did or parts of presents have been torn or broken under careless feet and hands. Parents have retired to mind-numbing TV programs or to a kitchen to produce a meal for a crowd of expected people. Do wesurvive Christmas or celebrate it?
God spoke of the poor often throughout His Word. He spoke often ofmyresponsibility in the opportunities that He gives me to be His hands and feet toserve the poor. Will I miss these blessings? Do I believe like Scrooge that the poor deserve their lot in life because of the choices they have made? Or is God offering me opportunities to be His hands and His feet to bring His compassionate love to the people He spoke about in: Psalm 112, Proverbs 14:31, 19:17, 22:2, Isaiah 61:1-3, Matthew 19:21just to name a few passages?
There are so many options to giving to those who do not have plans for multi-course meals, multiple presents to give to their children, or even the necessities for any day in a week, much less Christmas. The ministries that I mention may be in my hometown of Pensacola, Florida but if you check Google you can probably find something similar near you. Or call your minister as I bet your church has been asked to help local groups who help the poor and needy.
Streets and Lanes Ministry. My friend, Leah Taylor offers her recommendation on her blogsite to help those who are homeless. She has found it to be an opportunity to involve her children in stuffing Christmas stockings that they will take to the ministry who will, in turn, give them to those in need.
Waterfront Rescue Mission. This ministryÂ has programs for addiction recovery, shelter for the homeless, stores that sell used clothing, furniture, etc in Pensacola, Ft Walton Beach, FL, and Mobile, AL. They feed hundreds on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Church Outreach. There are many churches that put together boxes and baskets of food, fill shoe boxes for children and the homeless, and open their doors to provide meals. Pick up the phone. Open your local newspaper. Find an opportunity. God will open a door â€“ if we are willing.Â