Friday, September 17, 2021
Proverbs 22:22 “Do not rob the poor, because he is poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate.”
A young boy sat at the dinner table for several nights in a row listening to his dad pray for the needs of a family that lived across the street. As they would eat their meal he would think about that family, and wonder if anyone would step up and help the family in a physical way. On the 5th night, while dad was again praying, the boy quietly got up from the table, walked over to the buffet where dad laid his keys and wallet every night when he got home from work, picked up the wallet, and headed for the front door. When dad asked him where he was going the boy replied, “I’m going to answer your prayer.”
One of the characteristics of a self-sacrificing individual and society is the deliberate involvement in meeting the needs of the weak and poor. Deliberate is the key word. I think it goes beyond the spontaneous and usually emotional response we make to a need when we hear about it on tv or the radio or in church. Now don’t get me wrong, every gift of generosity that comes in at such times is greatly appreciated, but let’s carefully consider this area for the growth potential that it has for our lives. You see, an emotional response to anything carries with it the potential for regret. We may have given a wonderfully generous gift today in response to a need we heard about, but are we sure when the bills come at the end of the month we will not regret having made an emotional decision to do that?
I think there is a better and more mature way – to be deliberate in the planning to meet the needs when they arise. Here’s an idea: sit down with your budget book (you do use a budget book to manage your finances, don’t you?) and your spouse (if you have one), and in a time of prayer consider adding an account to your budget. You could call it P.E.R., for Planned Economic Relief, or better yet, Planned Emotional Response. Whatever you decide to call the account, it will be there when a need arises and you will know how much to give PER need. There will be no regrets later because you planned to do it and you were able to do it. You were deliberate.
I know, some of you are thinking, “Where’s the sacrifice in that?” Well, for most of us to be able to create such an account will take sacrifice because some other deliberate account may have to be adjusted. Plus, I can guarantee you that as needs arise you will still have emotional responses and want to give more than you planned, so you will still sacrifice, and then adjust your PER account. Pretty soon, everything you have becomes a resource for God, and you will have discovered the wonder and wisdom of self-sacrifice.
Let’s work together to start a grass roots movement in America to change our society from a self-centered one to a self-sacrificing one. It begins with honoring God above ourselves, and then deliberately honoring others above ourselves by considering their needs before our own. There is not one of us who is at the bottom of the economic ladder, so no matter what our current condition, we are able to help another in need. Let’s pick up the wallet and answer our own prayers.