A generous person will be blessed,
for he gives some of his food to the poor.
It just so happens that we’re watching Les Miserables while I’m writing this post. Funny how that works out. And as I type these words 24601 has just been redeemed by the priest. Even though this poor man had actually stolen the silver, the priest came to his rescue. And the next song is “At The End of the Day.”
It’s funny. Les Mis is set in the early 1800’s, I’m writing this in the 2010’s and the proverb was written around 700 B.C. All of this time, 2,700 years and we’re still needing to be reminded that there are poor people in our midst who need us to help them. In fact, I could argue that the need now is greater than it’s every been.
And I’m not just talking about other countries and parts of the world we never visit. I’m talking about right here, in our own country, in our own towns, in our own neighborhoods.
I think the tendency is to think that because we now have so many many government run support systems and programs that there is no longer much need for us to do as much. Shouldn’t they be able to get money for food from the state? Shouldn’t they be able to get free health care? Shouldn’t they be able to find the help they need, I mean with all the taxes we pay!
But, I’ve said all along, the government wouldn’t need to do things like food stamps and care for the poor if the church was doing what they are supposed to do. If the church was being the church, the poor would be taken care of in the right way.
But we’re not doing that. We’re not doing what we are supposed to do, just as the Jewish people weren’t. This is why the prophet Hosea said: “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” Jesus himself quoted this passage when he was correcting the Jewish leaders. The teachers of the law did not help the poor, instead they often oppressed them.
And still today, the church isn’t doing this. In fact many churches have shut down many of their ministries that helped the poor. It’s too much of a hassle. People take advantage of the system. And so we don’t help anyone.
But, here today, the wise man’s words ring loud in our ears. God blesses the one who is generous. God blessed the one who gives some of his food to the poor.
Maybe your church doesn’t do anything like that. So, you say to yourself that you just don’t have the opportunity. That’s just an excuse. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved and to donate to. The real question is, will you step up and play your part?
Or will we continue to live Les Miserables over and over again?