A few crumbs…

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. (Psalm 41:1-2)

The global financial pressures of the past six years have done much to cast aspersions upon the promises of advisers, brokers and investment analysts. The above verses describe what could be the best investment we can make, and among the most enduring long-term fixed deposit we can secure.

The psalm is far more than a revelation of God’s heart for the poor and disadvantaged; it reflects a truism, which is backed by specific promises and the revealed will of God elsewhere in Scripture, namely how He responds to those whose heart is big and generous towards the destitute.

John Bunyan wrote that we have not really lived until we have a done a kindness towards someone else for which they cannot repay us. The character of God is what moved the Lord to first call out a special people so that He may demonstrate His purposes and grace in and through those who trusted Him. There was nothing in Abraham and his clan deserving of being chosen or of receiving such kindness.

Likewise, the arrival of Jesus was a response to our desperate need of being rescued from sin with all of its destroying consequences. We are enslaved and chained by sin. Nothing could have altered our spiritual state unless God moved to free and rescue us of His own volition. Likewise Jesus paid a price which none of us can repay.

This psalm captures something of the attitude that our Father wants his disciples to display towards those who are trapped in a network of financial and material poverty. Blessed (filled with contentment) is the person who considers and assists the poor. More than that, with the practice of generosity of heart and pocket towards the poor, come several assurances:

  • Firstly, there is the ability to persevere in the midst of trouble. The Lord’s assurance is not that there will be an absence of adversity, but He promises something far more resilient than the avoidance of problems, namely our preservation and ability to endure hardship.
  • Secondly, the Lord assures those who remember the poor of certain contentment and well-being. We would do well to remember that contentment is not the consequence of material abundance. Material prosperity produces comfort and convenience, but not contentment of soul and spirit. God promises contentment and blessedness of heart for those who are bighearted towards others who cannot pay them back.
  • Finally, there is a heavenly protection from those who would do us permanent harm. He provides security against the onslaught of evil’s designs.

In adversity we would do well to pause and reflect just how bighearted we are towards those who cannot pay us back. How frequently do people in real need register on our radar screen?

If we really want to secure our retirement and pension funds we should start making deposits in that eternal bank account which requires we invest in those who can never pay us back. Strangely the Banker of all banks will see we are more than compensated, not according to our means but according to our sharing!

Steve

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