As RECIPIENTS of God’s GRACE, be ‘MORE’ GENEROUS
February 25 Bible Reading: Deuteronomy Chapters 13-15
"If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs. For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, 'You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.'" (Deut 15:7-8, 11)
God’s grace to the Israelites in freeing them from Egyptian slavery was a model for all Israelites to follow in relation to the poor among them. In the above passage, Moses is instructing the Israelites to remember their former poverty and servitude to the Egyptians (v. 15), be thankful to God for the riches that they have received from God’s bounty and use these gifts to assist the poor among them.
This teaches us an important lesson: since we have experienced the grace of God in abundance we should be more generous than others. We should not “harden our hearts” nor “shut our hands” when dealing with poor people (v. 7). We should not harbor an evil thought that may include hesitation or refusal to help (v. 9) nor should we have a grudging spirit (v. 10). Justice and righteousness must always be combined with compassion!
In this connection, the Jewish people have been deservedly well known for caring for their own throughout history. Paul says the same thing in 2 Corinthians 9:7 that Moses says in verse 10: “God loves a cheerful giver.” This verse is not only a command but a promise, for God is no man’s debtor. “The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself” (Prov. 11:25).
The blessings of God should thus motivate us to be a blessing and a help to other less fortunate people among us. Moses mentions the blessing of God many times in this chapter (vv. 4, 6, 10, 14, 18). God has opened His hand generously to us, and we should open our hands widely to others (v. 8). He blesses us so that we might be a blessing (Gen. 12:2). Not only must we have generous hands, but we should cultivate glad hearts as we share (v. 10).
The greatest gift of all is the gift of ourselves because we love one another (vv. 16–17). First, we give ourselves to the Lord (Rom. 12:1–2) and then to one another in loving service (2 Cor. 8:1–5).