December 3, Poor Benefits
Today’s reading: Psalms 11-15
“‘Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise,’ says the Lord. ‘I will protect them from those who malign them’” - Psalm 12:5.
The poor are mentioned 21 times in the psalms, so it is safe to say they are a priority to the Lord. Therefore, they should be your priority as well. At this time of year, it is common to pay attention to the poor, for the holidays remind those who have to share with those who have not. Yet the poor should not only be a priority during the holidays, but a focal point for your giving all year round. There is tremendous spiritual benefit to helping the poor, as Jesus described when He rebuked the Pharisees for being outwardly righteous but inwardly full of darkness:
You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone (Luke 11:40-42 emphasis added).
Jesus insinuated that when you are generous to the poor, it creates a clean heart in the giver, for it is an act the benefits of which can only come from God and not from the poor themselves. Are you generous to the poor? What can you do now and in the coming year to remember the poor on a regular basis?