By Tope Banso.
“Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need” (Proverbs 21:13 New Living Translation).
Indifference to the cry of the poor or the needy is one of the hindrances to answered prayer. The New King James Version renders Proverbs 21:13 thus: “Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard.”
There should be no poor people (Deuteronomy 15:4). But there will always be poor people (Deuteronomy 15:11, Matthew 26:11). You’re not among!
Cultivate the discipline of giving to the poor. Don’t limit your giving to your offering, seed or tithe in church. Give to the poor your time, money, materials, etc. When you give to the poor, God becomes your debtor! He’ll pay you back with more. “He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, and He will pay back what he has given” (Proverbs 19:17 New King James Version).
The Bible says of Cornelius in Acts 10:2 that he was “a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always” (New King James Version). God remembered his prayers and gifts to the poor, and ensured his salvation and that of his household.
The story of the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17-22 is also relevant. Jesus told him to go and sell his possession, give the money to the poor and then come to be his disciple. He couldn’t do it. He went away sorrowful.
There’s also the rich man in Luke 16:19-31. Diseased Lazarus had to lay at this rich man’s door longing for scraps from his table and the dogs would come and lick his open sores. This rich man ignored the cry of poor Lazarus. But things changed after both of them died.
Dorcas or Tabitha was full of good works and charitable deeds (Acts 9:36). She took care of widows providing them with clothing. God remembered her good works and used Peter to bring her back to life when she died.
James 1:27 says, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (New King James Version). Go beyond church attendance, praying and similar activities. Be kind to the poor. Psalm 37:21b says the righteous shows mercy and gives.
Don’t use your financial condition as an excuse not to give to the poor. In 2 Corinthians 8:1-4, the Macedonian churches, despite their hardship and serious poverty, pleaded passionately to be allowed to bless their fellow believers in Jerusalem who were impoverished. They gave.
Don’t ignore the cry of the poor; help them no matter how little you can (1 Corinthians 16:2, Ephesians 4:28). You’re sowing a seed, and your harvest time will come. As it has been well said, “What you make happen for others, God will make happen for you.”
Give voluntarily, willingly, cheerfully, regularly, generously and according to your ability (2 Corinthians 9:6-11). Give to the poor out of love otherwise you gain nothing (1 Corinthians 13:3). “Blessed is he who considers the poor; the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble” (Psalm 41:1 New King James Version).
●●Banso, an Abuja-based minister can be reached via email@example.com; on Tel No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523; and on WhatsApp No: +2349081295947.