July 6 I Tuesday
“Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.” —Luke 12:33
In the opening verse of this devotion, Jesus describes the perfect place to store our treasure that is completely secure, will not fail and is eternal. How do we invest in such a fund? Jesus tells us, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor.” To use our resources to serve those in need is exactly the opposite of what the man in the Parable of the Rich Fool did. The man built large barn houses to store his own possessions, thinking to himself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” The man hoarded his resources, mistakenly believing that they were simply for his benefit and his enjoyment. But what he did not anticipate was God saying, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you.” This is the result for someone who “stores up things for themselves but is not rich towards God” (Luke 12:19-21).
God gave gleaning laws in the Old Testament as a provision for the poor. Leviticus 19:9-10 says, “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest....Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the LORD your God.” We can assume that the man in the parable was not adhering to those laws; he was probably gleaning his fields multiple times, storing up more and more excess for himself. Hence, when we care for the poor, as God intended, we are being rich towards God.
How does caring for the poor equate to being rich towards God? Jesus says, “For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was ill and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me....Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me” (Matthew 25:35-36, 40). To be rich towards God is to care for the wellbeing of others. He is the God who hides Himself among the poor.
A disclaimer, however, must be made that Jesus is not saying all of us need to sell all of our possessions and give to the poor, otherwise we would be in need ourselves and become a burden to the church. We are to be wise stewards of our resources, not hoarding for our selfism, but be generous towards the poor and the needy, for this is how we are rich towards God.
Prayer: Lord God, close my heart from selfism and open my heart to generosity towards the poor and the needy. Teach me to be a wise steward of my resources. Thank You, Lord.