“You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake” (Deuteronomy 15:10).
This year, as always, our church gave away turkeys and all the fixings. It is because this year, as always, there were poor people in town. Jesus said “the poor you will always have with you” (John 12:8). God said it 1,400 years earlier through Moses (Deuteronomy 15:11). Paradoxically, the Lord told Moses “there should be no poor among you” (Deuteronomy 15:4). All of which tells me that though poverty will be a constant, your attitude should be “Not on my watch!” and you should beat it back as much as possible.
There is poor and there is poor, of course. There is cell phone and plasma TV poor—and then there is not having bread. God means to address the latter kind of poverty, real and primal poverty. He says:
“You shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need …” (Deuteronomy 15:8).
Most of you reading this are, like me, on the giving end of the equation. And God has an interesting word just for us about attitude:
“If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand. …” (Deuteronomy 15:7).
God probes down to the innermost scheming, cold and calculating place in the heart when He next says:
“Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, ‘The seventh year, the year of release is near,’ and your eye look grudgingly on your poor brother …” (Deuteronomy 15:9).
This is a reference to the prorated scale God set up in the Sabbath year ordination, which a selfish person could conceivably manipulate to minimize his pocketbook pain in charitable donations. God says you are not to think that way! And He gives the reason why you need not be so miserly in giving. It is because whenever we give with an open heart, not coveting personal gain …
“for this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake” (Deuteronomy 15:10).
That’s a pretty good exchange on the dollar.