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November 14, 2010


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Tim Keller defines poverty not so much from a financial sense, but rather from a relational sense. He says that one of the reasons why some folks are poor (not all, but some) is that they don't have neighbors who care for them.

We are told to love our neighbors as ourselves, and unfortunately we've lost a real sense of neighboring in our society.

If we took Jesus' call to be a gospel neighbor seriously, we'd find ourselves living out what you talked about in the verse above.

Great post.

I need to find an organization that helps the poor that I could work through. I would love to volunteer time also. I have been poor in my life, and I know that the poor not only need money, but they need mentors too. My brothers and I had no examples to show us that getting out of our situation was possible, but something got us to do it. (Thank God) I would like to be that person for someone.

I have been mentoring a poor woman in my community for a year. She has no family. I have pushed her hard to study and take certification exams in her industry. I have been teaching her to invest first in herself in a debt free way. I have given her food and fixed her car on several occasions. She just received a promotion at work and is now able to save for the first time in over a decade. I am so proud of her and honestly - she has made me "richer" than anything God allowed me to help her with!!!! I wish everyone would do this - I honestly believe we could conquer poverty in this country. The government isn't going to help us - we need to help each other with God's grace.

I sincerely do NOT think that "reaping what you sow" applies to the way you are kind to the poor. I think more generally, if you are humble and giving and "kind" to the poor, you are likely to get kindness back in the way that you need it. For those that are not Christians or very religious, I think this still is a correct principle. When a person is in trouble, I'm more likely to help them if I know them, if I have a good relationship with them... if they have helped ME in a time of trouble, I'm even more grateful and of course want to pay back their kindness. Working the other way, I think it makes a lot of sense that when we are kind, helpful, and giving, people will want to be kind, helpful, and giving towards us as well.

To borrow from my own Jewish traditions, there was a great Jewish scholoar named Maimonides who invented a ladder of giving. Each level represents a higher degree of virtue. Here they are from lowest to highest:

1. Giving begrudgingly and making the recipient feel disgraced or embarrassed.
2. Giving cheerfully but giving too little.
3. Giving cheerfully and adequately but only after being asked.
4. Giving before being asked.
5. Giving when you do not know who is the individual benefiting, but the recipient knows your identity.
6. Giving when you know who is the individual benefiting, but the recipient does not know your identity.
7. Giving when neither the donor nor the recipient is aware of the other's identity.
8. Giving money, a loan, your time or whatever else it takes to enable an individual to be self-reliant.

BTW, I got the actual text for these from I did not remember the wording off the top of my head.

I think the rewards are usually Heavenly. I'm poor, my Christian friends are poor, and we all give to the poor, and we're STILL poor. In fact, the more a Christian gives (in my circle of friends), it seems the poorer and more worse off they end up, so I think the rewards are Heavenly. At least, at this point in my life, I'm sure hoping they are, heh.

Oh forgot to mention our health is all poor, and we have a ton of problems, so yeah, no rewards there. The rewards have GOT to be Heavenly!

I don't think any of Jesus' disciples died rich people or that their kindnesses were always returned. --Quite the opposite, in fact, if I read the New Testament and Christian history correctly. Thinking that material rewards result from being as Christ to others is merely capitalism with Christian packaging.

Our church just hosted their monthly oil change ministry on Saturday. I was able to be a part of it and had a great time changing oil for 30 single moms and families who are financially strapped.

I don't say this to brag about helping those in need - but it was such a rewarding day for me to help someone in a tangible way. I was blessed with a joy that came from seeing Christ's love work through our ministry.

I think the true reward that day came from knowing that these people were able to have their needs met and the love of God was shared. Will we see a reward for our work - maybe in heaven - but that wasn't our motive. It was just great to help someone in need.

We gathered items for a Christmas Shoebox and dropped it off at our church. These little packages go to boys and girls around the world who may not receive any gifts.

Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need;
the remainder is needed by others. Saint Augustine

You reap what you sow. There is no exercise better than reaching down and pulling people up.

Interestingly there have been studies done that show that on the average, with all other things being equal, the family that gives more receives more. Again. we're talking averages here and we all know how that works, but I do find it interesting anyway.

"Specifically, here’s what I found: Say you have two identical families—same religion, same race, same number of kids, same town, same level of education—everything’s the same, except that one family gives $100 more to charity than the second family. Then the giving family will earn on average $375 more in income than the non-giving family—and that’s statistically attributable to the gift."

Regardless, I do believe it is a good practice for everyone. There is ALWAYS someone worse off than you are. It helps improve your own self-worth when you help someone out who is less fortunate. When your self-worth improves, your view of the world changes. When your view of the world changes, often your circumstances change.

My dear husband always said, "You cannot feel poor if you have enough to give to help others." I feel this is true. I am trying to up my giving to 20% and it is working so far. My pensions and SS are adequate and I feel blessed in a community where so many actually need food bank stuff.

They had told me the "bad news" was that I did not qualify for federal food at the food bank. I said the "good news" was that I did not qualify. I get quite a bit because I volunteer and if you volunteer for over 3 hours, you can share in the supplies. I am living alone and do not need all I get. So I share with 2 young men who work odd jobs because they are disabled and cannot always get to the place to sign up for and pick up the food. So I share what I get with them.

I have always found that giving to the Lord has been a blessing and it does not matter if it is money, material blessings or just the nearness of God telling me "thank you" for helping his children.

I am trying to save because I know everything will eventually go way up. Right now I found out that my insurance in December will go down $20. However, our town needs, per DNR, a new sewer system. Therefore, my sewer bill has just gone up $20. At least I'm breaking even. I'm trusting God to keep me and I will do my best and thank him for whatever he helps me with. Maybe he will also teach me not to talk so much. Ya think?

Georgia, I think God has you talking just the right amount! Excellent advice.

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