by: FCC Staff
Concern for others is one of the hallmarks of the Christian faith. God loves everyone, even those who are outside his will. In the biblical world, people often viewed poverty as a punishment for sin. And certainly, Proverbs itself illustrates all the ways that foolish behavior can lean to ruin, including financially.
But we are not to take pleasures in the hardship of others or mock those who have found themselves in dire financial straights. If we have a condescending attitude to those less fortunate than us, we are very likely to be generous with them in their need, or support them emotionally and spiritually as they endeavor to find peace in their financial lives.
While it may it may seem obvious to not make fun of people who are poor, there are other ways in which we can mock the plight of the less fortunate. There was an incident in the life of Jesus that illustrates this unhealthy relationship to poverty well,
“Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” (John 12:1-8)
If your only concern for the poor is that they provide an opportunity for you to enrich yourself, or bring attention and glory to yourself, then you mock their situation and objectify them. It is not only damaging and patronizing to those who want to be seen as helping, but it also is harmful to your own spiritual walk. Jesus taught us,
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:1-4)
We should not seek to make a point, make a show, or make a name for ourselves in our generosity towards others. We can encourage our bothers and sisters in generosity but we should never been seen as seeking our own glory, credit or fame when we help others.
So today, as we seek to share the love of Christ with others, let’s make sure we do so in humility, and in ways that affirm the dignity and honor of our fellow men, who have all been created in the image of God.
Prayer for Today
Father to your name be the glory. Let everything I do today be a reflection of your love, peace and Justice. Jesus, teach me your humility, that I may do the will of the Father in all things. By your Holy Spirit open my eyes to the needs of others, so I can extend to them your love and truth. Amen.