Acts 10:30-31 - Cornelius answered: "Four days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me 31 and said, 'Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. NIV
I wonder what went through Cornelius' mind after that conversation with an angel. I am fairly sure he was not giving to the poor to be noticed by God. Yet, that is exactly what happened to him.
He gave to the poor and God noticed him.
I am fairly sure that when we give to the poor we do not give thinking "Well, God is watching me so I will give a large sum to this poor person." When we give we do so to help this person.
I am quite sure that if we think about it for a moment there was a time when someone helped us. Now it is our turn to return the favor.
In the Old Testament times when the Israelites lived in an agricultural society God told them not to harvest all of their crops. They were to leave the edges of their fields alone and the poor people could come and glean the edges of their fields for free.
In other words, the poor people had to do something to help alleviate their poor condition.
They were given an opportunity to better themselves by harvesting crop that was left in the field for them by the land owner. They could use this harvested crop to feed their families or sell the crop and bring money into their own pockets to support their family.
This type of living is supported by the Apostle Paul in the New Testament when he writes in 2 Thes. 3:10 - For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. NASU
I have been asked if I give to the people who are at the stop lights begging for money.
My answer is "No."
But I will tell you who I do give money too. I give to the ones working in the restaurants. I know the ones working there are definitely not rich. A lot of them are working there as a second job. They are trying to make ends meet.
Some of them are in school during the day and working there at night.
God's plan is to help those who are indeed working to try and get ahead in this life and I see waiters and waitresses doing exactly that. When I leave them a very nice tip I see this as a way to give to the poor.
Acts 10:4 - The angel answered, "Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. NIV
Proverbs 14:21 - But happy is he who is gracious to the poor. NASU
Prov. 22:9 - He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor. NASU
Prov. 19:17 -One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his good deed. NASU
Think on These:
Poverty is often the sidekick of laziness.
A man is truly poor, not when he has nothing, but when he does nothing.
Gary A. Serago
Minister of God's Word
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Gary A Serago.