Receiving starts with giving, and is poured out in measure

There are humbling lessons to be learned in considering the poor, in helping those in need,  in giving up the world’s goods that we have gathered around ourselves.

Blessed is he who considers the poor; The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive, And he will be blessed on the earth; You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies. The Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness; You will sustain him on his sickbed. I said, “ Lord , be merciful to me; Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You.”
Psalms 41:1-4 NKJV

Proverbs 19:17 ESV
Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.

Deuteronomy 15:11 ESV
For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’

1 John 3:17 ESV
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

I wonder how many pairs of pants I have folded and unused at any one moment, or how many shirts or jackets or pairs of socks? And what about the toys and gadgets and things that I’ve accumulated on shelves and in drawers that might sit unused until my body returns to the grave and someone has to sort through the accumulated trash of my life. I wonder how much of this clutter that might testify against my clinging to worldly wants and the security and comfort of things – should instead be a blessing to others?

And even that perspective, once I’ve walked in it for a while begins to shame me, because I realize that I have grown used to the pride of helping others while holding back the best for myself – just giving the leftovers, the unused, the unwanted to others,  and thinking foolishly that I’ve done something grand and benevolent. Oh, how deep my vanity can run, Lord.

When I realize that I am bringing into your house the things that are less than my best, I am humbled and ashamed, Lord. Help me to bring my best into your house. Teach me to give sacrificially of my stuff,  of my time, of my life – so that I can know  and experience the riches of your glory now – an, abundant life,  filled not with wealth or things, but surrounded by an outpouring of your love.

And along with the physical needs of those in this world, aren’t there also so many in spiritual need? Don’t these lessons about how little we usually care about the physical needs of others betray the truth about our heart when it comes to the state of others’ eternal souls? Oh, how can we stand and praise the Lord so vigorously in the closed doors of the assembly just to later spit in the face of His beloved children by leaving them hurt and bleeding and dying in the ditch of this life because we are not fully committed to giving our best,  indeed surrendering our whole life, following in His footsteps?

Lord, remind me that it isn’t about waiting one day to meet you in heaven, but to be alive today, bringing you into this world. Remind me that you gave your best for me,  and that I am meant to follow in your footsteps. Remind me that it isn’t about inviting people to come experience a religious ceremony and tradition – but it’s about being the church, bringing Christ out into the world to meet Him at the well even when they aren’t seeking Him.  Remind me that we are saved by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimonies, and that we share unashamedly with others because we have little concern for our short lives other than to worship Him in Sprout and Truth.

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
Revelation 12:11 NKJV

Help me,  Lord.
Deliver me,  Lord.
Preserve me,  Lord.
Strengthen me, Lord.
Sustain me,  Lord.
Be merciful to me, Lord.
Heal me, Lord.
I have sinned and fallen short of your glory, but you call me precious,  and honored in your sight, and loved, Lord.

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