He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and that which he has given He will repay to him. Proverbs 19:17
There is no rich and there is no poor when it really comes down to it. If I have, you have, and if I don’t, you don’t. Now that doesn’t mean we act that way. On the contrary, we have a long history of misuse and abuse toward each other.
The guy and gal I passed on the corner yesterday holding that sign is a part of the story. Unfortunately, the poor they suffer from is not a lack of money or shelter.
True compassion for them doesn’t deal in band-aids or conscious appeasers. It is consumed by the fact that but for the grace of our Father, so go I.
Turkey at Thanksgiving is the celebrity that is selected at times with the utmost scrutiny. And the old Dressing is the staple that is all mixed up with a little of this and a dab of that.
But regardless of the Turkey or the Dressing, we are one in the sight of God. Each one needs the other. In much, in little, in a moment it all could be gone.
From the fruit of his words a man shall be satisfied with good, and the work of a man’s hands shall come back to him [as a harvest]. Proverbs 12:14 AMP
Old Zan and I quickly became friends. Every couple of months or so he would come by the church hustling a “few dollars.” Most of the time we would give him enough to stay out of too much trouble and send him on his way.
But one day, I decided to bring him in my office and learn a little bit of his story. I was serving a church in Oklahoma City at the time as an Administrative Pastor and I was located in one of the poorest neighborhoods in town. Zan was one of many recipients who frequented the doors of that church in need of basic food, clothing, and shelter.
What I learned that day changed my perspective on the poor. For all practical purposes, on the surface, Zan appeared pretty needy. But in all actuality, through his disability check and other benefits he received from his military service days, we were clearing about the same amount. That was a wake-up call for sure.
So why was I working at the church while he was begging from the church? Why was my money feeding and clothing seven people at that time and he wasn’t even covering himself? It was because my friend was a broken man on the inside. I don’t know if there were issues before his accident in the service, but in an effort to heal up, addiction to the meds set in and never let him go.
At the time, that was all new to me. But any more, Zan’s story is commonplace. Though he never let me in deep enough to help with the real “monster,” he did hang around long enough to change some of his conversation about himself and his attitude about using his hands constructively…even if he couldn’t do what he used to could do before he got hurt.
In this life, things happen and sometimes they are life-altering and unfortunate. But today’s Proverb assures that if we will find ourselves saying the right things with our mouths, doing the right things with our hands will happen. And we will look up from the ashes and see a harvest of good things all around us.