There should be no poor among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the LORD your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today. For the LORD your God will bless you as he has promised…If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs. (Deuteronomy 15:4-6, 7–8, NIV 1984).
My Musings – This text was for the Hebrews people specifically as they were brought out of Egypt. Yet, I believe it can be instructional to us as well. As richly as God has blessed my country (the United States), arguably there should be no poor people among us. And perhaps by the standards of much of the rest of the world there likely isn’t many. But there are some here, and many elsewhere.
The text goes on to say, while there should be none, if there are some “do not be hardhearted or tightfisted.” But in many cases, we are. We prefer to believe it is their own fault (lazy, poor choices) that they are in the situation they are, or we suspect that they really are not in that situation at all (freeloading). But despite our beliefs and suspicions, their situation may not be their fault, or they really may be in that situation. We are not responsible for determining if they are worthy of our charity, but for our ability to be charitable.
My Advice – “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:35–40, NIV 1984). I could not improve on this advice.