Proverbs 19:17 reads, “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.”
There are many who hold the view that the poor are deserving of their poverty. “If they had worked harder . . .” or “If they had more self control,” etc, etc. seem to be common reflections of “haves” of “have nots.” Others are not so blatant in their condemnation, but still shy from meaningful “charity” in the name of “good stewardship.” They don’t give out cash, as it might be misused. Okay, it may well be the case in some instances. Some will rather give food, or assistance, and this seems a right step. But is it stewardship or prejudice which limits openness to giving?
Are we to be judges? I saw an interesting video a while back of some street people in a UK city making fun of the turbans of some passing Sikhs. How ironic is it that later the same neighbourhood was visited by members of the Sikh community to distribute langar (free food offerings) to those in need. An offer even open to those who had previously ridiculed them.
I have written before about Mother Theresa and the Missionaries of Charity who worked (and work) with the “poorest of the poor.” The example, they follow is of the early church, “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need (Acts 4:32-35).”
And this in turn was an application of Jesus’ words in the parable of the sheep and goats.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’(Matthew 25: 34-40).”
Stewardship is the management of the property of others. We are not the owners or processors of this world and its wealth. It is God’s creation, His world, His abundance. We are mere caretakers of it while we pass through this world below. Let us think twice before being stingy with what we have been blessed with the use of. “Sharing is caring,” not just to those who receive, but also of Him who has provided.