“When we have pity on the poor, we are lending to God at interest; and when we give to the lowly, we are giving to God: in a spiritual sense, we are sacrificing a sweet fragrance to Him.”
– St. Cyprian of Carthage
This week, many people will spend themselves into debt between Friday and Monday with a combination of “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” holiday deals that can sound as if they are once-in-a-lifetime bargains that you cannot afford to miss. For the most part, that is not true.
But as I was looking through recent online posts from friends and family this morning, I noticed something unexpected in the midst of our national shopping frenzy, and that was the number of posts noting worthy recipients for another ‘signature’ day called “Giving Tuesday.”
Post after post encouraged followers to support not-for-profit services and ministries that have unique but common missions—they each serve some segment of the poor, persecuted, imprisoned, sick, or in some other way, hurting all around us. It’s beautiful.
I think those non-profits, as a group, are what “Church 3.0” should look like—instead of building buildings and focusing our efforts there, becoming more intentional about serving the people outside, the broken ones, those the Bible calls the “poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind” (Luke 14:13). Invite them a feast, but not on your turf, on theirs.
Note how Jesus said it in Matthew 25, “You gave me a drink,” “you covered Me when I was naked,” “you visited Me when I was sick,” “you came to me when I was in prison.” Those are outward actions. He didn’t say, “I came to you, and you gave,” it was, more precisely, you went—you sought Him out. And, having ministered to Him He now bids you – “Enter in! Inherit the kingdom!”
For today, let’s generously support those non-profits that are lending to God through their generosity toward the hurting. Then, as individuals, families, and churches, let’s get outside and love our neighbors like never before. As someone rightly said, “Preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use words.”
If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord—and he will repay you! Proverbs 19:17 NLT.