Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord,Proverbs 19:17 NIV
and he will reward them for what they have done.
How do you react when you encounter the poor, either in person or in the news? The homeless person begging on the street corner. The immigrant looking for an opportunity. Those suffering from oppression and miserable living conditions. It is easy to feel sorry for them. But am I willing to do more than that?
This proverb challenges us to do more than have pity on the poor. It is calling on us to be kind to them, showing mercy. To do something for them. To help them where they are.
What I find most interesting in this proverb is that what I give to the poor is considered as a loan to God. We need to be careful here when talking about making a loan to God. When we do, we are not putting him under any obligation to us. It does not give us any kind of divine leverage, allowing us to call in a favor.
Instead, as the remainder of the proverb states, we can trust that God will not forget what I have done in caring for the poor and needy. But he will reward my faithfulness. The money and time I invest in caring for others will be richly rewarded. It is not time or money wasted or thrown away.
Caring for the poor and helpless in their need is something that God calls all of us to do. Invest in that. The dividends are much greater than anything you will ever receive from the stock market.