- 2 Cor 9:5-10 So I thought I should send these brothers ahead of me to make sure the gift you promised is ready. But I want it to be a willing gift, not one given grudgingly. 6 Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. 7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”[c] 8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. 9 As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”[d] 10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity[e] in you
- Luke 6:38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full–pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.
- Psalm 112:5-7,9 Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice. Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever. He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever; his horn will be lifted high in honour.
The Bible always speaks well of generosity but it has nothing good to say about stinginess. The Bible teaches that wise and judicious generosity is the way to blessing and prosperity, but that stinginess leads to poverty. The psalmist here pictures a righteous man. He says, “He will never be shaken; he will be remembered forever.” Why? What are the causes of that man’s stability? He’s generous, he lends freely, he has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor. Therefore the psalmist says, “His righteousness endures forever.” I believe that many of us today need to recall how central to righteousness is our attitude to the poor, to those who are in need. God has nothing good to say about those who neglect the cry and the need of the poor. Let’s remember that that’s essential to establishing our righteousness. Derek Prince
How to Walk Alongside the Poor
By Craig Greenfield • June 18, 2018
“You say you care about the poor? Then tell me, what are their names?” —Gustavo Guttierrez
Peruvian theologian and kick-butt priest on the margins, Gustavo Gutierrez, put his finger on a sore spot for most Western Christians when he spoke these prophetic words and asked a simple but super awkward question: “Um … tell me, what are their names?”
Something within us instinctively knows that if we truly care about the poor—we cannot hold them at arm’s length. As followers of Jesus, we follow the One who came to “bring good news to the poor” (Luke 4:18), but didn’t settle for dropping bread rolls from heaven to feed the 5,000, or thunderbolts from the sky to heal the disabled.
He came—in the flesh. To know you. To know your name.
You’ve probably experienced this pull, every time you feel drawn towards personalizing your own giving. You want to know whom and where and what you are giving towards.
You want to know their names.
And I think this instinct is right and good. We all somehow sense that giving in the context of relationship is more transformative. Because in the context of relationship we have the opportunity to be transformed ourselves.
So, here are three ways you can move in that direction:
1. PRACTICE DIRECT ONLINE GIVING.
Let’s start with the easiest: Personalized Giving 101.
Kiva.org is probably the most well-known online broker between those with cash and African women with cool ideas.
According to their website, you can empower people around the world for as little as $25. And the best thing is, you can select the individual person you’d like to help, see a photo of them and read about how your loan will specifically help them to overcome poverty.
You should know that Kiva is a “middle-man”—they work through local micro-credit organizations that are operating on the ground. At one time I worked as an adviser to just such a micro-credit organization serving around 1,000 impoverished women in the slums of Cambodia.
These micro-credit organizations do good work, but they usually do not work with the absolute poorest of the poor, because those who are barely able to feed their families will need to spend any cash they get their hands on to feed their kids and find shelter. Life for them is hand to mouth.
Most of these micro-credit organizations also require some form of security on the loan, such as a house title. These and other safeguards mean that Kiva-type loans are best suited to the working poor, rather than the poorest of the poor.
But don’t let that put you off. Micro-credit is an important piece of the puzzle in overcoming poverty and heaps of people have been helped through these initiatives.
2. GO AND SEE. COME BACK AND GIVE.
A step deeper is to go and see, with your own eyes. Allow your heart to grieve. And then come back and give, faithfully … and sacrificially. These types of Vision Trips, as opposed to Short Term Mission Trips, maintain a focus on long-term relationships rather than an easy two-week solution. They are built on a commitment to embrace ongoing lifestyle change, rather than a quick fix.
In fact, you may return many times, building a deeper relationship with those you met every time you go. If you can, visit with an organization that will allow you to immerse yourself among the poor by staying with a local family. Then you will be more likely to understand something of their context, rather than just seeing the outsider view.
When you go, don’t be a wise-ass and try to bypass the charity you are connected with by sending cash directly to the poor people you meet. By doing that, you are likely to undermine the delicate balance of empowerment they are working for.
Instead, have the humility to submit to the wisdom of those working on the ground, who know the culture and situation, and know the best way to strengthen the local community. They will guide you in the best way to give.
And remember—you cannot romanticize the poor you meet on a mission trip, then come back and demonize the poor on your own doorstep (or at your border).
3. WALK ALONGSIDE SOMEONE WHO WALKS ALONE.
At this point are you ready to try “advanced-level” connection with the poor? Where you not only know their names, but they become your friends, even family?
I’m particularly passionate about this idea, because it underpins the vision of the movement I lead in the Non-Western world called Alongsiders. We’re convinced that every follower of Jesus can walk alongside one vulnerable person in their own neighbourhood.
Specifically, we mobilize and equip young people in Asia and Africa aged 16–30 to walk alongside vulnerable kids in their own communities.
But don’t worry about our age range—anyone can do this. It’s simple “love your neighbour” stuff straight from the teachings of Jesus.
Once those relationships are formed, they allow for a deeper, more beautiful way of giving—in mutuality. In fact, at this level of relationship, your giving is much more like sharing, because your relationship is give and take. This is the most empowering form of “giving to the poor”—where you are willing to learn and be transformed as well.
Are you ready to do something radical? Take a look at this video below and learn from someone who we normally think of as “poor”—as a beneficiary, a client or even as a victim. And see that she has a lot to teach us. That though she may be economically poor, she is relationally and spiritually rich.