“A lack of generosity is a form of oppression.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – April 29, 2021
Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him. Proverbs 14:31 (ESV)
A lack of generosity is a form of oppression. This is hard for us to get our heads around, for we have been conditioned to think that we are only wrong towards our neighbor or a poor person if we actively and intentionally them harm. Yet, is it truly love simply to avoid evil thoughts and actions? Is generosity simply a state of mind or disposition? Or might love demand of us an intentional and sacrificial pursuit of the good of another?
From the Old Testament to the New, our Lord expects a sacrificial love for the poor to be a defining characteristic of his people. In fact, it is directly connected to our life of worship and ability to live in union with God himself. As we read in Matthew 25:40, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Our love for the poor, or our failure to love, is not simply a horizontal relationship, nor is it isolated to the two people involved.
Every act of hatred or oppression is ultimately a rejection of the image of God contained within each human being. Similarly, when we are generous with our time, talent, and treasure, we speak dignity and worth over the other, honoring them with our words and deeds, and in so doing, honoring the Lord as their creator and sustainer, just as he is ours.
When we fail to live generous lives, we fail to see our shared humanity and kinship with every human being. Though we build systems that create distance, status, and prestige, generous living reminds us that, regardless of what we have done, who we know, or how much we own, each and every one of us is sustained and upheld by the love and mercy of God. As it says in Acts 17:28, “In him we live and move and have our being.” This is just as true for the business executive as it is for the man or woman living on the streets, for in the eyes of our Lord, both are fearfully and wonderfully made.
“The rich and the poor have this in common: the Lord is the maker of them all” (Proverbs 22:2).
Father, help us to live generous lives, so we can be free to see the generosity you pour out upon us every moment of every day, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
How is the Lord inviting you to step further into a life of radical generosity?
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