In the Old Statement of the Bible, specifically in Leviticus 23:22, it says there that, “When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. Leave it for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the Lord your God.”
The Lord God specifically commanded to the Jews to leave some of their harvests for the poor and the foreigners among them. This is one of the reasons why in the story of Ruth and Boaz, she was allowed to pickup some of the harvests that the workers drop–she was poor and she was a foreigner. Of course, we also know that Boaz told his servants to “intentionally drop” grain for Ruth. But that is a totally different story.
I still have to come to a part of the Bible where God prohibits giving alms to poor. God does not! The Bible, this time in Deuteronomy 15:10-11 even encourages giving to the poor! It is even said to give generously, not grudgingly, for the Lord your God will bless you in everything that you do.
Can you believe that? When you give to the poor, God will bless you! Yes, there will be people who will point out that this command is for the Israelites only and does not apply to us “modern-day Christians.” But is that really how we should interpret that? Will God not bless us when we are generous, especially to the poor among us?
I share this to you because a few days ago, while at the queue where I buy my lunch, there was a man with a toddler who was asking for money. My initial reaction was to ignore them. I rarely give to beggars, but then in the blink of an eye, I believe God told me to give some money to the man. Not just one peso or five, which would be the usual amount of money that one would easily part with. No, God told me to give more than that. He wanted me to give the beggar something more “substantial.”
After that, I proceeded to buy my lunch and when I sat down, I had this feeling of being relieved. It was the kind of feeling I get whenever I believe I followed what God told me to do. I just had that joy in my heart. I was nearly in tears. And then i got reminded of that verse in Leviticus.
Friends, we really need to give more, not because I want us to be blessed. Im not talking about rushing outside and give money to all the beggars you find. That is not the point. We should be in a cycle of giving—“give and it shall be given to you.” We should be perpetuating and teaching our children to be generous people. God commands that we should leave part of our harvest for the poor. That is a hard task and what I really admire from generous people—and I know many. They are a testimony of the truth of the promises of scripture.
Israel is a big family and they were commanded to take care of one another. In Deuteronomy 15:4, God desired that there would be no poor Israelite. But in this fallen and sinful world that is not to be. That is why a few more verses after, in verse 11, God said to Moses that, “There will always be some in the land who are poor. That is why I am commanding you to share freely with the poor and with other Israelites in need.”
Should we not do the same? If it means treating a beggar or street kid to lunch, then let it be so. If its handing out bread or fruit or bags of groceries, do it! We need to be part of a generous generation. The poor will always be among us. If God gave provision for them, we should also. We should give because we want to obey God, not because of the promised blessing.