You shall leave them for the poor and the stranger. Leviticus 19:10
Devotion: 5 of 7
READ: Ruth 2:1-23
As we continue to think about helping people, all of us are able to do something to make a difference in someone’s life. We are very blessed to be living in Australia and have many things which make us comfortable. No matter who we are or what we have, we are considered wealthy compared to the majority world.
God spoke to His people Israel during the time of Moses and established laws to help guide them to do what is right and understand the consequences when they do something wrong. Through all the laws, God’s compassion for the poor and the stranger existed to encourage the people to look beyond themselves and care for those who have very little.
There is a law related to the harvest, where the landowner was told to leave the corners of the fields or the fruit that had dropped to the ground, for the poor to collect. (Leviticus 19:9-10; Deuteronomy 24:19-21). It became an instruction on how to help the poor with the excess so nothing was wasted.
This law worked and became a way of life for all the people and it was expected that at harvest time, those people with very little could pick up what was left behind. In the book of Ruth, it shows this law being followed by the landowners as Ruth the Moabite requested from her mother-in-law Naomi to go into the field to gather grain behind a harvester.
This law displays God’s heart for all people and demonstrates that there are people who will always have much and beside them the people who have less. The people with much are being instructed to help people who have very little and through this law there is an economy running where no one is left out.
It reminds me of the story in the Gospels when the disciples witnessed a woman pouring expensive perfume on the feet of Jesus. Their reaction could be similar to the way we may react if we saw this happening and not understood its purpose. “But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.” Matthew 26:8-9
What the disciples said, was following the law they had been taught: that with any excess it should go towards helping people and not be wasted. But Jesus responded to the disciples when he became aware of their thoughts, “…He said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always.” Matthew 26:10-11
Jesus went on to tell the disciples that this was all part of the preparation for what was about to come regarding His death. But what Jesus said regarding the poor is: they are always with us. Which is true, as there will always be people around us who need our help. We can help by being aware they are with us and help them through the excess we might have.
The poor might always be with us, but the same poor people who are helped can change and be the people who one day can help others. God loves everyone and cares for them whether they are rich or poor and we must do the same no matter what we have or don’t have.
“My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18
Thank the Lord as you pray for the many blessings you have because of Him. Allow God to speak to you regarding what you have and how you should use these things to help people.
In God’s plan there will always be people who have much and people who have very little. What people have or don’t have usually is determined by the decisions they make. But unforeseen circumstances are also a large contributor to why people have nothing and need help from people who have much. Helping people has no end to it – as long as we are in this world there will be people who need help. There may be a time where we will need help because of a decision we once made or an unfortunate circumstance happens to us.
Look at what you have and think about how you can use what God has given to you to help someone. For many of us we might have too much stuff, excess things that could be used to help people who have very little.
We shouldn’t feel guilty because we have these things and maybe more than what we really need. See it as an opportunity that through the blessing you have, you can be a blessing to someone in need. Helping people comes through these things: our material possessions, our experience and our love for Jesus.
You can make a difference through helping people.