What are the ramifications when we are kind to the poor?
The book of Proverbs, most of which is written by King Solomon, reels off a list of pithy one-liners. Such is the passage for today’s reading. One that captured my attention is “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord,” (Proverbs 19:17).
We know we should help the poor, and sometimes we do. When we wisely give to them – be it through our time, our possessions, or our money – we benefit them. We also gain because we do so as an act of obedience and an expression of love. And when we are generous in the name of Jesus, he is subtly celebrated. But there is one more thing.
According to Solomon when we give to the poor, we effectively extend a loan to God. In essence, giving to the poor is giving to God. But Solomon calls it a loan. Does that mean that God then owes us? Don’t go there, because we already owe him so much more than we can ever repay.
Jesus also encourages us to help the poor. In the parable of the sheep and the goats, the king (emblematic of God) says to his righteous followers: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me,” (Matthew 25:40).
Giving to the poor is giving to God.
What is a way you have helped the poor? What are your thoughts about lending to God? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.