“Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from thee. That is why I command you to do this. When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command yo to do this.” (Deuteronomy24:17-22)
God supports people in need. He warns against unjust treatment of strangers, orphans, and widows. God’s concern for defenseless and underprivileged persons is quite clear. He is concerned that we protect and provide for them. Three times God reminds the people of their time in Egypt, where they were slaves who had little to eat but worked hard in slave labor for the Egyptians and especially how He took care of them on the Exodus.
As a child, I can remember my aunt and uncles farm in West Texas. My aunt always kept a garden, and we canned everything. The storm cellar was just outside of the house and it could easily accommodate 15 to 20 people, and the walls had shelving around all four walls. I can still remember during canning time, how my aunt would tell me that we had an abundance with plenty to share. She taught school in town, and would take in a case of canned good regularly and would come home empty at the end of the day. She would say, it is our way of helping God’s people. She gave freely to those laborers, who came at harvest time for the cotton crop, and there was always canned goods handed out. This was common among farming communities and I have many fond memories of loading people up with fresh canned goods.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, there are times when we don’t know how to help others, but there is always time to listen to them and whatever it was that they would share with you. Too often, we treat You the same way, we’re in a hurry and we kneel down and give You a list of our wants, and then take off, instead of taking the time to listen to Your response. When we listen to others, we often are listening to respond, instead of listening to understand just what it is they are telling us. Abba, help us to be better listeners at all times, and respond to needs noted. Sometimes the best thing we can do for others is just to listen. We may not have an answer for them, but they need to open their hearts and share their thoughts with another human being. Let us become what You want us to be, and to give You all the honor and glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“Being a servant is a free choice that not all are willing to accept, will you?!”
“All believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. And put it at the apostles feet and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which meant Son of Encouragement), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles feet.” (Acts4:32, 35, 36-37)
The early disciples in Jerusalem minimized private ownership and shared everything. They provided the apostles with resources to distribute to those who had need. The generosity of Barnabas provides a good example. Scripture does not set this up as an eternal model for all to follow. It is a model for our concern for the needy.
Churches today should make provision for such distribution through members who take donated foodstuff and giving it to the local food banks. Likewise, donated clothes, shoes, etc., and can also be donated to local charities, so that the needy can find both food and clothes for those most needy. Discipleship must express itself through the church budget which should reflect a greater concern for those outside the church than for ourselves. As we as Christians cannot be “standalone Christians,” meaning we must be involved with the body of Christ in and outside of the church.
“This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be for God for his indescribable gift!” (2nd Corinthians9:12-15)
This is a question that we all need to ask of ourselves regularly. “Why do you as a disciple of Jesus Christ obediently serve God by sharing resources with other people? Is it so other people may see God’s grace in your life and praise God? Then disciples should be so devoted to God that all praise is directed toward Him alone. Right?
Second Thought of the Day:
Jesus announced that His ministry would meet every human need and would fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah. Through the Spirit’s power His disciples share His ministry. The way we meet human needs demonstrates whether we truly are His disciples or not. This commitment will be revealed on judgment day.
“’The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoner and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’ Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began to by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’” (Luke4:18–21)
God’s plan for Jesus was to fulfill the purpose set forth in Isaiah’s commission. Jesus declared He was God’s fulfillment of that promise and plan. Hometown people who knew Jesus best rejected Him first. Even the supreme revelation of God in Christ was not obvious and compelling. Faith is necessary to recognize revelation.