Tag Archives: caring for the poor

Storing Treasures In Heaven

I remember doing a paper in college on the brokenness of the United States’ Social Security system. All the research I had done showed that the system was upside down and would not be able to sustain the retiring Boomers. It was recommended that Xers and younger should invest in their retirement through 401k’s and other means. Because of all that, we each have a mindset of doing what we can now to make sure we have enough in our former years. Even this week, I spent a few hours researching stocks, their performance, their diversification and ability to grow over time. I think it’s good to have a plan for the retirement years, but I’m left to wonder how much time, effort and energy do I spend planning for eternity.

When compared to eternity, a lifetime here is nothing more than a nanosecond. How much more should we be investing in the afterlife? In Matthew 6:20-21, Jesus said, “Instead, stockpile heavenly treasures for yourselves that cannot be stolen and will never rust, decay, or lose their value. For your heart will always pursue what you value as your treasure” (TPT). That last verse should have each of us looking at what we’re pursuing in this life. Where are your energies focused? Are they for things that matter now or for eternity? Again, I think it’s wise to plan for your financial future here, but it’s critical to plan for your eternity there. God’s economy is different than ours and how you invest in it is different too.

You and I must value the same things that God values if we’re going to store up treasures in Heaven. God has always valued and cared for people, especially the members of society we seem to ignore. He values giving justice to those who need it, but don’t have a voice to get it. He values mercy and grace, specifically to those who don’t deserve it. He also giving of our possessions more than hoarding them. Finally, later on in this chapter, Jesus reminds us that we must seek His Kingdom first before we seek our own. I believe when we put His priorities above our own, we store up treasures in Heaven. You can’t check your heavenly bank account through an app, but you can measure it through lives changed.

Photo by N. on Unsplash

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The Poor Prodigal


We all know the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15, and we’ve heard many sermons on it. But what if there’s more to the story that we’ve missed? What if it’s not just about a lost soul returning home? I believe it could also be about how we care for the poor as believers. Take a look at verses 16-17. “The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything. “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger!” (NLT)

There was no one in the land he was living in who gave him anything when he was in need. So he left that area. He remembered how his father cared for the poor. He thought that even if he wasn’t his father’s son anymore, that his father would have compassion on him because he was poor. So he returned. In looking for compassion, he found salvation. There’s a lesson there for us as believers. When we care for the poor, they’ll find salvation. 

Here are some verses on caring for the poor.

1. Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor honors him.
Proverbs 14:31 NLT

2. Jesus answered him, “If you wish to be perfect [that is, have the spiritual maturity that accompanies godly character with no moral or ethical deficiencies], go and sell what you have and give [the money] to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me [becoming My disciple, believing and trusting in Me and walking the same path of life that I walk].”
MATTHEW 19:21 AMP

3. Defend the rights of the poor and the orphans; be fair to the needy and the helpless. Rescue them from the power of evil people.
Psalm 82:3-4 GNT

4. Be generous to the poor—you’ll never go hungry; shut your eyes to their needs, and run a gauntlet of curses.
Proverbs 28:27 MSG

5. Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need.
Proverbs 21:13 NLT

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Doing God’s Will


Too often we think it’s hard to know God’s will. We say we want to find it for our lives, but I wonder if that’s just an excuse we use to keep us from doing something. We don’t like change. We like things that are comfortable for us. We rationalize that if God opened the heavens, gave us a clear sign, and spoke to us in an audible voice then we could do the things that are uncomfortable. We put parameters like that on how to know God’s will so that we can remain inert.

The truth is that we know what God’s will is if we’ve read any of the Bible. We know His will for how we should live, we know His will for how we should treat the least among us, and we know His will for what we should do with our knowledge of Him. What we don’t know is how to do it. So the real question isn’t, “What’s God’s will”, it’s, “How do I do God’s will?” That’s the real problem most of us have, but we just can’t admit it because if we know what His will is, we are responsible for doing it.

I do an exercise with managers at work to illustrate the difference in telling someone to do something and teaching them how to do it. I create a long tube out of easel paper, tell them to hold out their fingers, put it on top of them, and tell them to take it to the ground. The problem is they can’t do it. They know what I want them to do, but they can’t. I keep telling them my will, but they don’t know how to do it so they get frustrated. Many walk away from the exercise frustrated because they aren’t successful. They give up because something that seems so easy is do hard to do.

After letting them struggle for about 10 minutes, I finally teach them how to do it. They then are able to do it with some struggles. I think it’s similar to doing God’s will. It should be easy to love our neighbor, defend the orphan, or tell others about Jesus, but it isn’t. I think David struggled with doing God’s will too. That’s why I think he prayed this prayer in Psalm 143:10. He prayed, “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing” (NLT).

I can relate with David. I know God’s will and I want to do it, but I struggle with doing it. Maybe you’re in that boat too. You want to do what He’s called you to, but you just don’t know how. Let David’s prayer be your prayer. Change your question from, “What’s your will” to “Can you teach you how to do it?” We still might struggle with doing it, but I’d rather fail at trying to accomplish His will than to fail God by doing nothing. Pray today to ask God how to do His will, then look for opportunities to do it. God will teach us and give us opportunities too.

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