My Favorite Proverbs: Caring for the Poor (Prov. 14:21).
“He who despises his neighbor sins;
But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he”
Focus first on the end of this proverb. It’s ironic that in the very act of giving to someone else I make myself happy. This truth, however, is something Jesus wanted His disciples to understand well: “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you…If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them” (Jn. 13:14-15, 17 KJV). There are few things in life that will produce immediate joy in a Christian like being kind to someone who could really use it. It will put a smile on both the giver and the receiver.
While we don’t help those in need in order to gain applause from others, it is true that, upon seeing acts of mercy, the church is energized. That was true in the first century church when Christians such as Barnabas sold property to generate monies to give to the poor Christians (Acts 4). The benevolence caught on and soon all the present needs were met (Acts 4:34). And, observe that, despite Christians pooling their funds, the church was not communistic. The disciples always got to decide when and how to help the poor. It was not decided for them. Peter made this observation to Ananias when he said, “Whilst it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power?” (Acts 5:4).
There is a familiar parable from Jesus on this subject, and you have perhaps already taught it to your children:
“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” (Lk. 10:33-36).
One more thing: My care for others is a type of barometer indicating my love for God. “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1 Jn. 3:17).
Today let’s make sure the love of God abides in us, and find the happiness promised in this proverb to those who have mercy on the poor.
Family Bible Time with Glenn and Cindy
Tonight, let’s focus on the aspect of doing something for Jesus, from Matthew 25:31ff. This passage tells us that, when we serve the family of Jesus (the church), we serve Him. Point out to your children that this makes sense, because the church is the body of Jesus in the Bible. If someone serves your body, in some way, they are serving you. (When mom puts a band-aid on your body, she is putting a bandaid on YOU!)
Challenge your kids to think of someone they love who has gone on to glory. It might be a grandparent or a great-grandparent or a friend. For our West Huntsville kids, it might be Mrs. Tillie or Mrs. Katy or even brother Arnold Wright (for the older ones). What can they do for this person now? We used to give hugs or food or smiles or gifts. But now…? They do not need anything that we could give them, for they are in a perfect place where no one needs anything!
That’s like Jesus. He does not need anything we have to offer. He does not need water because He is the water of life. From the throne where he sits springs the water of life (Revelation 22:1). He does not need bread. He is the Bread of Life (John 6:35). He does not need a doctor or medical care. He is in a place where no one gets sick (Rev.21:27). He does not need to sleep, because he is in a place where no one gets tired! No one needs anything in heaven.
So how can we show Jesus that we love Him, if there is nothing he needs that we can give him?
Well, think about the person you love who has gone on to be with the Lord. Do you know people here on earth that he/she loved a lot? Would it make him/her happy if you did something good for someone she loves? Of course, that is what she would have loved! You can do something for someone she loved!
That’s how it is with Jesus. He does not need anything! But the Bible teaches us that he has brothers and sisters that he loved enough to die for, right here on this earth. They are the people who are in His body, the church. If we want to do something good for Jesus, we do it for the people who are in His body! We do it for Christians! Jesus knows and loves it when we serve His people.
So, tonight’s challenge is to make a happy card for someone in the body that is loved by your child’s loved-one-in-glory. Make, decorate, color, cut or paint and mail or porch deliver. As you do, remind them of the person in glory for whom we are also making this card. In the nights to come, we will do some more things for the people Jesus loves, so we can do these things for Jesus!
Now, be sure your children can quote Galatians 5:13b: “Through love, serve one another.” (If you have teeny people, be sure they can fill in the word serve when you say the phrase.
Sing “Make me a Servant” (Tim and Jennifer Jennings)
Make me a servant, Lord, make me like You,
For You are a servant, make me one, too.
Make me a servant, do what You must do
To make me a servant, make me like You.
Pray with your kids.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.