Yesterday was one of those days! I wish I hadn’t had the urge to see what the calendar would reveal. I have this daily tear-off calendar, you probably know about it if you’ve read some of my other blog posts, that displays a Bible verse each day. Some days I enjoy the verses printed on the calendar, particularly when they are reassuring about my relationship with God. But other days… Yesterday’s verse niggled me.
I kept it at the back of my mind all day, but I was aware of its presence. It was pushed there by the many demands that were at the forefront of my attention. Dental check-ups! I must not forget upcoming appointments for twin A and B! Band section practice from 6:00-6:30 pm for twin A, followed by homework and dinner, and then back to school for full band practice from 8:00-9:00 pm; remind twin B that his contact lenses are monthly, not quarterly; discuss with husband about fire alarms, that randomly go off when he’s away on business trips, before he leaves for another business trip next week. If not, that jarring sound may be waking me again at 5am or midnight; finish book proposal, write blog posts, tweet, post on Facebook; help daughter draft a research paper because her college provides inadequate support for students with dyslexia. Too many things needed to be done yesterday. They are nothing out of the ordinary; just every day tasks for middle class people living in a suburban town of North America. So, he who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord (Proverbs 19:17) sat awkwardly at the back of the mind, every so often sticking out an elbow or foot in an attempt to nudge me and get noticed. Only as I went to tear off Proverbs 19:17 to reveal today’s scripture did it finally get my attention. Slam, right between the eyes.
I can’t stop thinking about Proverbs 19:17 as I get dressed, make chicken sandwiches for school packed lunches, unload the dishwasher, put on a load of laundry and leave for my Prayer Zone Workout… He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord.
I have time to reflect on this verse as I walk and talk with God. Kind—we shouldn’t be so wrapped up in our own lives that we ignore others around us who are not so well off. So, I’m at the steps before God’s throne. Jesus is standing there. He always noticed the poor. He came to bring good news to the poor. He was poor himself. Those who are important to God, I should not neglect. I humbly ask for forgiveness.
The poor—didn’t Jesus say that we would always have the poor with us? New York City has elected a new democratic mayor. He says he will tackle inequality in the city. Forty seven per cent of New Yorkers live at or below the poverty level. Do the rich in New York City need to give more to the poor in their city? Would there then be less inequality? This is a complicated and political issue, and I don’t want to go there.
What shall I do, I ask? This question is not to negate my responsibility but to ask God’s Spirit to stir my heart to be more like his. A rich guy asked Jesus a similar question. Jesus loved him. Jesus told the man to give everything he had to the poor and to follow him. I balk at this. Instead, I reason. I don’t see other Christians giving everything to the poor. There were plenty of wealthy people in the Bible: Abraham for instance—all those sheep and goats! Wealthy women supported Jesus and Paul. The answer is nebulous.
I collect yesterday’s mail, because yesterday was too busy and I forgot. I find a World Vision envelope. Emergency it says. I can read the headline through the window on the envelope: severely malnourished children are waiting for life-saving food. God speaks in those words. God shows his heart for the poor, and my heart stirs. $66 will save the lives of two malnourished children. Today I will spend $60 on physical therapy for my knee—so I can more easily sit cross-legged in my yoga class, and ski in the winter. I go online and donate to hungry children and mothers in South Sudan.
After all, this is only a loan.