Living Open-Handed in the Face of PovertyDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
“ ‘ … open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’ ”
When confronted with poverty, the easy response is to rush to Matthew 26:11, where Jesus tells his disciples, “The poor you will always have with you … ” and leave it at that. It’s tempting to make the excuse that Jesus knew there’d be poor people, and he was right—there are poor people, so, case closed.
But how, then, do we reconcile Christ’s persistent admonitions that we care for the poor in our midst? We know that, today, approximately 22,000 children will die as a direct result of poverty. It’s clear the case is far from closed.
When Jesus told his disciples they’d always have the poor with them, he was reminding them of a passage from Deuteronomy—a passage they would have known well. It goes like this:
“For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’” — Deuteronomy 15:11 (emphasis mine)
When confronted with poverty, the command we have from God (and yes, it’s a command and not a recommendation) is to open wide your hand.
As people of faith, we are the ones commanded to live generously. It’s up to us to care for the poor. We are the ones called to intervene when poverty compounds the effects of tragedy. As Kristen Welch so wisely counsels,
The poor may not have wealth, but they have dignity. I’ve met people without electricity or running water who swept their dirt floors daily, pressed their clothes neatly, walked miles to work on muddy roads, dodging sewage and never had a speck of dirt on them. They value their own worth, we should too.
FOR FURTHER REFLECTION:
Who are the poor in your community? Have you been living with open or closed hands? What does it mean to live generously?
Lord, I want to live with open hands. I’d like to live generously, from a sincere heart. Please show me how to bless others with the resources you’ve given me. Let all of my actions and thoughts toward the poor in our community become a reflection of your love and grace. Thank you. Amen.
READ THE SCRIPTURE IN CONTEXT:
“For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’”