This article talks about why it is important for Christians to be generous towards the poor. The topic seems like a minor one, but not practicing it has major consequences.
Being generous to the poor should be an important trait of any Christian. But nowadays, we don’t find that many generous people among Born-again believers.
Saints, please remember, our treasures in heaven is directly related to our generosity on earth. Hence, if we are not willing to be generous on earth, our Bank balance in heaven is going to be zero.
See Jesus’ advice to the rich young man:
Jesus commands him to sell all his possessions and give it to the poor, so that, he can have treasures in heaven.
16Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” 17“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
18“Which ones?” he inquired. Jesus replied, “ ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19honor your father and mother,’ c and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ d ”
20“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” 21Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
What Lord Jesus commanded the rich young ruler also applies to us. If we want to have treasures in heaven, we too need to be generous to the poor.
Saints, everything that we possess in excess belong to the poor and we should be willing to share those things with them. Otherwise, it doesn’t make sense to identify ourselves as the disciples of Christ. Instead, we might sound like the Pharisees of the 21st century.
Let us go through the following verses in which Jesus is asking the Pharisees to be generous to the poor. The advice might sound simple but we still have something to learn from it.
Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.  You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?  But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. (Luke 11:39-41)
The Pharisees of those days had a peculiar character, that is:
they were very keen to observe the customs and traditions of their fathers, however, they never had a compassionate heart.
They were very diligent in teaching the people to keep the commandments of God; but they themselves never practiced it.
Mercy and justice are weightier matters of the Law, but these teachers of the Law never gave any Importance to them. Instead, they diligently followed less Important things like ceremonial washing of the hands, cups and pitchers and also many other man-made traditions.
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and asked them to be generous to the poor. In verse 41, He was reminding Pharisees that, without generosity all their diligence in practicing the law would be meaningless
There is also another important lesson for us to learn:
when we are generous to the people around us, it shows that we love them and care for them which has the power to cover a multitude of sins.
In proverbs it says:
Also, I have given below more verses that talk about the importance of being generous to the poor.
7If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. 8Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need. (Deuteronomy 15, 7 – 8)
42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. (Mathew 5, 42)
Being kind and merciful is an eternal character of God Almighty and when we practice the same, it proves that we are the Children of that Almighty God.
It shows our commitment to obeying our Heavenly Father.
Being generous also shows that our heart is clean. A narrow-minded person does not have the ability to be generous to others.
A stingy man does not give any importance to the needs of others. So, he has no desire to share anything with others.
Similarly, those Pharisees were mean and narrow-minded too, that is why they never shared anything with the poor. In fact, Jesus in this context was directly dealing with the narrow-minded attitude of the Pharisees.
Remember, lack of generosity will make us sound like the hypocrites of Jesus’ time. So, let us be genuinely generous towards the people around us, especially to those who are poor.
You might be diligent in serving in the church or in the ministry but if you are mean to the poor around you, it might lead to profaning of LORD’s name. So, let us be doers of the word not just hearers of the word.
22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
Let us not deceive ourselves by being dishonest with the word of God. Let us be diligent in practicing what our Master has taught us. Amen