They can be seen on street corners with signs and cups. They can be seen taking refuge beneath bridges. They can even be seen — unbeknownst to you — at work or at church cleaning the floors or doing some other form of serving you. What do you think when you see them? When they cross your path, how do you treat them? When they are gone from your presence do you forget them? Who is “them”? Who are “they”? The poor. This brings us to our key text coming out of Proverbs 19:17 (KJV). The Word of the Lord reads:
17 He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord, and that which he hath given will he pay him again.
Our hearts should be filled with compassion and love for the poor. Unfortunately, in our society those less fortunate can have a tendency to be treated as outcasts. Many people turn their noses up at beggars on street corners. How many people actually stop to tell a janitor thank you for cleaning the office? Even worse, some people won’t even make eye contact with those they feel are not “on their level.” A person is not any less human just because they do not have what you have or do what you do. These are not the attitudes God would have us to have towards those in need. One should definitely exercise safety precautions when dealing with strangers, but if you are able to be a blessing to someone you know who has hungry children at home, do not hesitate to do so. If you do not feel safe giving to a stranger, there is no risk in giving a kind smile and a prayer. Giving does not always have to be tangible. Giving appreciation and politeness to the struggling parent who waited on your dinner table is just as powerful — if not more powerful than — an extra large tip. No matter what you give, the big idea God wants us to understand is having a compassionate heart.
Have a blessed day!
Ayvaunn Penn is an award-winning writer and the author of Ephemeral Moments, a book of poetry and short stories from the Christian perspective, available on Amazon.com in the fall of 2013. She is also the founder of Your Black Poets. To receive Ayvaunn’s daily Bible devotionals by email, click here. Click to follow her on Twitter and Facebook