I’ve started reading through a new book that I will blog on for a while. It is called “Sharing God’s Heart For the Poor”, by Amy L. Sherman. It is a very small book with alot of very short chapters, so, if you are reading or have read it, I will probably not blog on every single chapter as I usually do, but only on the things that really speak to me.
The whole subject of poverty and the complex puzzle of getting out of it have been weighing on me ever since I came back from Haiti, which is why I decided to read and blog on this book (that and I got it free from a friend….) One of the things I’ve been thinking about is God identifying with the poor- He has it ALL!!! Sounds like a impossibility! I know through Jesus He could, but it talks a ton in the old testament about God having a heart for the poor! So, since that is the first chapter of the book, here’s the first summary and my additions…..
Psalm 146:7he defends the wronged, he feeds the hungry. God frees prisoners—8he gives sight to the blind, he lifts up the fallen. GOD loves good people,9protects strangers, takes the side of orphans and widows, but makes short work of the wicked.
Psalm 72:12Because he rescues the poor at the first sign of need, the destitute who have run out of luck.13He opens a place in his heart for the down-and-out, he restores the wretched of the earth.14He frees them from tyranny and torture— when they bleed, he bleeds; when they die, he dies.
God identifies with the poor, even though He has everything!!! It’s easy to think- there’s no way God would understand- He has it all!!! But He does understand in His miraculousness. He created us, so He knows and understands all that we go through. He sympathizes with us; He wants us to be cared for and provided. So He has given each of us the duty to take care of each other- we need each other. He is the father of all- it doesn’t matter what someone looks like, He is their Father, their advocate. His heart is for the hurting.
Because we have a duty from God to care for those around us, when we don’t do that, we are hurting not only those around us, but God, and I would argue, our own selves. As Christians, if we give sacrificially to those around us, we will be increasing our own trust and faith in God, which will enable us to mature just that much better. So it is not a giving with no return, even if we don’t ever really see the return. It is a giving that brings us closer to where God wants us to be- with Him, united with His heart. The help to others is obvious, and also not so obvious. There is of course the physical benefit of whatever help is given, but there is also much more. To receive help from someone is to receive the gift of hope, of a feeling of mattering and not being lost in the anthill of life and society, of joy of knowing you are cared for by someone else and are not alone. That is a priceless gift.
To help others also helps God. It shows His love, His kingdom. It shows the beauty of His virtues and heart. It is not a natural human thing to want to help others beyond a very shallow point. To fully invest yourself into someone else with no outright return, especially over a long time, is not easy. It is hard. We need motivation. And the only way motivation lasts is through God. Not that we do it to earn anything from God, but that we do it because God’s voice speaks in our spirit, whispering to us of His love for us and those around us.
That is why we give.