Daily D – Proverbs 22:9
Proverbs 22:9 Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor. (NLT)
One of my favorite lines from the movie _The Princess Bride_ says, “I am not left-handed.”
Today, and for quite a few days to come, I am left-handed.
My drinking glass at dinner will be placed on the left side of the placemat. My fork will be placed to the left side of the plate. I am learning to do many new things with my left hand. My mother will be thrilled by this information. She is left-handed as is the doctor who did my surgery. The dictation results of that last sentence ended up capitalizing the words Doctor Who. Now that’s funny.
As you can probably tell by now, I am learning to talk to type. So far so good. The biggest challenge is the fact that my writing app doesn’t always clearly understand me and inscribes something quite different from what I thought I said. However, we are learning to work together and navigate around one another’s eccentricities.
My coworker Becky broke her right wrist earlier this year. She is also not left-handed. However, she was able to accomplish more day by day with her left hand than most people accomplish with both hands in a week. She is my inspiration.
Today’s verse reminds me of some things I learned from Toby Owen. He is the Executive Director of the Presbyterian Night Shelter in Fort Worth. He provided three helpful ideas regarding poor and homeless people and how to help them.
First, he said not to give cash to people on the street corner. Many, if not most, of these people will use those funds to purchase alcohol or an illegal drug. When we give money to them, we are making their problems worse.
One of the local television news shows did a full report on this a few years ago. What they discovered was an organization that delivered people to certain corners or intersections, and had them work there for hours every day. The people who deliver these homeless and poor people take a significant portion of the proceeds for themselves.
Instead of giving money, and if it is safe to do so, purchase a meal for the individual. One of the guys I see regularly sits at the entrance to McDonald’s with his dog. Apparently, people with dogs get more sympathy and more cash. I saw another of the local regulars mistreating his dog last week. This did not make me happy.
Second, Toby said these people know where they can get good meals twice a day along with assistance for housing and jobs. It is better for us to send them to Presbyterian Night Shelter, Union Gospel Mission, or any one of several other similar ministries directed toward providing necessary assistance.
Third, a report on one of the local television news programs two days ago talked about how standing in the heat we are experiencing right now is especially dangerous for these people. If we are able, we should encourage them to get off of the streets and into one of the shelters that is providing a cool place for people who need it.
This same report directed people toward making financial contributions to the agencies who serve the poor and homeless in our community. We have done this for several years. I want to talk to Toby about creating a coupon book. That way, when I encounter someone seeking handouts on the street, I can hand them a coupon with directions to the Presbyterian night shelter. These coupons will also list essential services that are available. Again, most people standing on the street corners already know about us. however, there might be somebody who doesn’t know and could use the help.
Presbyterian Night Shelter could charge $25 each for the coupon books. This would provide them with an additional stream of income. It would provide more resources for those in need in our community. It would also provide a guilt-free way to provide help that really helps.
If you read the Bible carefully, you’ll notice how God really is concerned about the poor. Yes, Jesus said we will always have the poor with us. He did not, however, excuse us from helping them in a manner that is truly helpful. Some people really do simply need a helping hand. Some people really do simply need a lead on a job.
The Presbyterian Night Shelter and the City of Fort Worth work together to provide jobs like picking up trash around town. Presbyterian Night Shelter provides housing for people in this program. This in turn provides income so that people can better take care of themselves and get off the street.
Those of us who are blessed with so very much can live like Abraham. God told him that he was blessing him to be a blessing to the whole world. At least two days a week, I pray that God would make me a blessing as he has so richly and abundantly blessed me. If you want to live the kind of life God can bless, take note of this verse. It says, “Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor.”
* God blesses us.
* God blesses us so that we will be a blessing to others.
* God blesses us even more when we take care of the poor.
* God blesses us with more so that we can provide more and more.
Blessed are the generous.
I will live generously.
Our Father, as you have so generously blessed me, make me a blessing to others. Amen.
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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”