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Today's passages give us a peek into God's heart concerning the poor and needy.

Firstly, God has a soft spot for them, so he expects us to not harden our hearts against them. Instead we must open our hearts towards them. Most of our indifference and apathy towards the poor and needy stems from our hardened hearts.

Secondly, God is generous towards the poor and needy, and so he expects us in like manner to open
our hand towards them and be generous.

Thirdly, God does not dichotomize the needs of the poor and needy. He accepts all their needs and helps them regardless of the magnitude of the need. In like manner, God expects us to be indiscriminate as we meet the needs of the poor and needy. We must not choose the easier ones and avoid the heavy ones, especially when God has given us the ability to meet these needs.

Fourthly, God is a champion of the poor and needy. He will not allow an unworthy thought to be used against them. The fear of loss and the inconvenience of disturbance are two such thoughts. Because we mostly have a mindset that esteems profit, it is easy to classify the poor and needy as a loss; and because we equally cherish and guard our comfort, it is easy to see them as a bother. God will not have us entertain either thought, but would rather that we went through the trouble of helping people. This is His expectation of us and his delight.

Fifthly, our attitude as we give to the poor and needy must be joyful and thankful. We must not begrudge them and manipulate them with false guilt. This will open us up to entitlement and contempt, both of which the Lord hates. As we give joyfully, God will bless and reward us richly. In fact he will bless both our work and our undertakings.
The story of the rich man and Lazarus is very instructive about the purpose of wealth. The rich man had an abundance, but would never share anything with Lazarus, not even crumbs from his table. After Lazarus died, possibly out of his hardships, the rich man also died shortly after. It would seem that one major reason the rich man was given his wealth was to sustain Lazarus, failure to which he served no other divine purpose one earth. Let us take heed to ourselves.

Lastly, giving to the poor and needy is practical. If anyone has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and does nothing about it, the love of God is not in him. We must devise practical ways of getting needs met in the body of Christ. We must plan, mobilize and execute our plans properly. Remember, let us not love in word or talk, but indeed and in truth. Compassion is love in action. Love unexpressed is love denied. Love denied is illegitimate and impotent. The power of love is in its ability to impact as it is imparted.

Pastor's Weekly Corner

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Lavington United Church was founded in 1960 through a joint effort of the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK), Methodist Church of Kenya (MCK) and the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) as a community church to minister to the Lavington community. <<Read full History>>

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