“Generosity sets us free from the curse of self-centered living.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 29, 2022
Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse. Proverbs 28:27, ESV
Close to my home, there is a grocery store that frequently has people outside the front door and in the parking lot asking for money. Regardless of where you live, I imagine this is a situation you have commonly found yourself in as well. And in these moments, one is faced with a decision that must be made: do I see them or not? Of course, they are always seen, even when someone makes a deliberate attempt to avoid them by choosing a different parking place or entering through another door. Yet seeing them with eyes of compassion and love? This is a deliberate act of mercy that must be chosen.
There was a season of life in which I far too easily talked myself out of such acts of generosity. Perhaps most obviously, I would say that giving to someone on the street was only furthering their brokenness or enabling their addiction. And there may be some very real truth to that statement. We do need forms of charitable service that break cycles of poverty and put people on a path toward true and lasting freedom. However, rarely if ever do I find myself in a situation in which that kind of top-to-bottom holistic care is asked of me or envisioned. Instead, the brokenness I encounter is far more specific and personalized.
Most of the time, there is a particular person before me, one with a name, a family, and a story, looking me in the eyes and asking for help. In times like these, poverty is not an abstract “issue” to be discussed or contemplated. No, it is an embodied reality that I either move toward in love, or hide my eyes and ignore. As such, it is an invitation to either remain what we are by nature, turned in toward ourselves and away from our neighbor, or to encounter the joy and delight of giving freely and without discrimination, just as our God has freely given to us.
In fact, I believe this is the nature of the “curse” which is referenced in Proverbs 28:27. Our minds have been conditioned by cultural ideas of curses that lead to “bad karma” and general negativity that we bring upon ourselves. As such, we may read these words as a threat or warning: “Give to the poor or else terrible things will happen to you!” I believe this understanding misses the mark and leads us down unhelpful paths that cause us to give out of fearful obligation rather than a heart of love.
Generosity sets us free from the curse of self-centered living. Our failure to live generous lives that seek to dignify the humanity and worth of others leaves us under the curse from which Christ came to set us free. The Lord does not curse you or shame you when you fail to respond to an opportunity to be generous. Yet he does in his goodness give us these opportunities in order to set us free!
Father, give us eyes that see the brokenness around us, and hearts that are quick to respond in love, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Consider buying a few gift cards that you keep in your car, proactively embracing a posture of generosity and choosing to keep your eyes open to the needs of others.
Shane & Shane: Psalm 34 (Taste and See)
If you are blessed by these daily devotionals please prayerfully consider a donation to support Wisdom Hunters Resources. We are trusting the Lord for His provision.
Download our app!
November 29, 2022
“Obedience flows from genuine love.” Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 29, 2022 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:8 Years ago, while talking with a young woman I was mentoring, we read John together which says, “If you love me you will [...]
November 28, 2022
“The Holy Spirit instructs us on how to run our race with God, while Jesus inspires us by modeling the way.” Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 28, 2022 But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They [...]
November 27, 2022
“Where God rules, peace reigns.” Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 27, 2022 For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7 This week as a friend and I were talking, she shared about her struggle with worry. “It’s something I pick [...]