Posted by: Ety W. | September 24, 2008

Prov. 31:20 – Philanthropist

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This is part 12 in a series on the Proverbs 31 Woman.
To start at the beginning, click here.

She extends her hand to the poor;
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.  Prov. 31:20

So far we have seen that the Proverbs 31 Woman is a diligent worker who handles her money wisely.  Because of these things, she is able to help others in need.  She is an example of an exhortation we read in the New Testament,

….. rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has need.  Ephesians 4:28b (NASB)

While almost all Christians would agree with this principle, it doesn’t seem to be commonly practiced.  It is a sad fact that both tithing and donations to charities are down.  But if we understand giving to be good, why is that so?

One reason Christians are unable to give freely is because their money is tied up in debt.  The problem with debt is that it gives someone else the rights to our money, even before we earn it.  That problem makes a good point of the following verse,

Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. Rom. 13:8

We are unable to love our neighbor by meeting his needs if our money is tied up in debt.

Another reason giving is down, I think, is because we live in a day and age where people expect government to take care of all social problems including poverty. Our “giving” is in the form of taxes. Scripture however, never endorses this.  Rather, we are to help the poor.  We see quite a few exhortations and examples of this in Scripture:

And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea. Acts 11:29

For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.  Rom. 15:26

Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor…”  Luke 19:8a

On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’  Luke 10:35

Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did.  Acts 9:36

He who despises his neighbor sins,
But happy is he who is gracious to the poor.  Prov. 14:21

For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints… 2 Cor. 8:3-4

He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker,
But he who is gracious to the needy honors Him.  Prov. 14:31

If we want to show others the love of God, then this is something we need to do.

But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. 1 John 3:17-18

If we feel fiancially unable to help the needy, then perhaps it is time to take spiritual inventory regarding our money and our possessions.  Budgeting even a small amount of money for this kind of giving honors the Lord and helps create our spiritual legacy.

Do not lay up treasures for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust dstroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  Matt. 6:19-21 (NASB)


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