In the early days of the church, people sold their possessions to take care of the poor, the widows, and the disabled. Many have heard someone say, “God loves a cheerful giver?” Or, maybe you’ve read in Acts, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Do you believe those statements or put them into practice?
44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
In many ways, the church has been replaced by government programs. The government takes care of people who are in need with numerous programs. However, many people fall through the cracks, don’t know the programs exist or even how to apply for them, and those people still look to churches for help. Some churches have food banks where people can come to get food, some deliver meals to the shut-in, and some have clothing banks where those in need can find items Proverbs 28:27
27 Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.
Even with all the help available, there are still people below the poverty level. Living in the Appalachian Mountains, I see people struggle to survive and feed their children. You see the despair in their eyes, and many have lost hope of ever having a better life. It is sad and heartbreaking, especially when you know that the poverty cycle is hard to break.
All of this is on my mind because I went back to a small shopping plaza to pick up a few more velvet pumpkins yesterday. When I got ready to leave, a gentleman sat at one of the exits. I almost went in another direction because I didn’t want to have to make the choice of driving by and doing nothing or digging in my purse for money.
All of the horror stories came flooding into my mind. “He might rob you.” “I bet he has a nice car parked right around the corner.” “Those people make a ton of money from hard-working people giving them money.” “They could be working; everyone is hiring; why should you give them money?”
10 Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.
While all these thoughts entered my mind, I still felt the prompting to go that way and give the man some money. I grabbed my handbag, took out some money, put my purse in the backseat, and headed toward the exit. The man held a sign, but I don’t think he expected anyone to stop. He wasn’t looking up and just sat there with his head downcast. I stopped and rolled down my passenger side window since that was the side he was on. He looked up when he heard the window roll down, stood up, and walked to the car. He was hot, sweaty, and looked miserable. I handed him the money, and he thanked me and wished me a blessed day.
Instead of immediately feeling happy, I heard a voice in my head saying, “You are such a chump.” That’s when I started to feel happy!
1 Peter 5:8
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
There is one thing I know, and that is that the Lord will NEVER negatively respond to you. The Lord would never say you were a chump for trying to help one of HIS children. If it wasn’t the Lord putting those thoughts in my mind, I would assume it was the enemy.
You might wonder why hearing the enemy tell me I was being a chump made me happy. I was happy because I didn’t fall for his tricks; instead, I listened to the prompting of the Lord. I often fall for one of the enemy’s tricks; he is cunning, sly, and knows how I think. But, I drove away saying, “Not today, satan!!!”
Whether I was a chump or not doesn’t matter. I hope I was a blessing, but I could have been a chump and a blessing. Either way, I did what I thought the Lord would want me to do, and what the man does with the money isn’t my concern. My concern is how the Lord looks at me, and just this once, I think He was pleased.
To God Goes The Glory!
Have A Blessed Day!