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Bethany Baptist Church

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Mid-Week Meditation

November 15, 2017

Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed. (Proverbs 19:17)

Who has given a gift to him (God) that he might be repaid? (Romans 11:35)

If you have read the above two verses carefully, then by this time you should be saying, ‘that’s quite confusing and seemingly contradicting’. One verse says that the Lord will repay and another verse says that who has given anything to the Lord that he should repay. So, does the Lord repay or not? I understand that the book of Proverbs make statements that are generally true but cannot be taken as a promise for all times. Still it doesn’t solve the problem even if we don’t consider Prov.19:17 as a promise because there is a need to properly understand the verse. We are almost tempted to do an investment for a guaranteed return on the basis of Proverbs 19:17 but Romans 11:35 kind of shut us off from doing so, isn’t it? I remember preaching from Mark 10: 17-31 last Sunday, a passage in which the Lord guaranteed Peter that no one shall lose his wealth by giving it up or investing it for the Kingdom’s cause and the Lord knows how to return it for He is no man’s debtor. Yet, Prov.19:17 says that, “whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord and he will repay him”. So, can we make God a debtor by generously giving to the poor and make God obligated to repay us? Let’s now begin with a fundamental principle, ‘generous giving’ from a Biblical standpoint is an act of trusting God. This is especially true when we give to those who are totally incapable of giving us any favour in return. We do not invest when there are no returns, at least there must be a mentioning of our name in return to what we have given, if not, why giving? It would be appropriate for me to quote John Piper who said, “God loves to be trusted so much that he always blesses those who trust him with a life more fulfilling than if they hadn’t trusted him. If being kind to the poor is an act of trusting God to take care of us (the rich), there is a sense in which God becomes a debtor. He is a debtor of His own glory. Trust is the one thing that put God in debt, not our giving. The reason trust can do this is that it is the one human attitude that looks away from our sufficiency to God’s sufficiency”.

I hope you will take the above quote in its right sense, it means that God will act on behalf of all those who trust him completely. Those who have, must express their trust in God by generously giving to those who don’t have and are incapable of returning any favour. In doing so they (the rich ones) are saying, ‘Lord I trust that you are the giver of this money but I give it up for someone who is in need because you care for that person as much as you care and provide for me’. You could have used that money for more returns but you give it up realising that it is God’s money and ultimately He alone is sufficient for you. In doing so, the loss you incur, the interest you show, the creativity you display, the time you sacrifice, the energy you spent, the attention you give to the poor is because of your trust in God’s sufficiency and such trust will be rewarded by God. God is not someone who rewards on the basis of how much we give but He is certainly the one who rewards all those who trust in Him alone and because of which takes interest in others who are in need. The finest evidence of trust on the side of those who have money is their willingness to share what they have with those who are in need but have no ability to give anything in return. Yes, what Romans 11:35 says is true, we cannot give any gift to God and make him obligated to repay us but we could express our trust in God through our generosity and God will reward all those who trust in Him. The poor must do this by trusting in God’s sufficiency and not in the riches of the rich people; the rich must evidence their trust by generously giving to the poor. “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him (Lam.3:25)”.

Lord, you cannot be manipulated by even the best work we do but you have called me to live trusting in your sufficiency and I praise you because you reward those who wholly trust in you. Amen.

-Pastor

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