Deuteronomy 15:8,10,11 – But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth. Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto. For the poor shall never cease out of the land; therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land. (KJV)
Our prayer group requires no admittance fee. No weekly donations. No contribution towards the lights, the maintenance costs, janitorial services, Spiritual Director's fees, the heating costs. And so it was, last fall, that I suggested we bring something for the church's food bank, especially as it was in such need, and the cooler weather was approaching, which brings in more of those in need.
One of the participants, herself a pastor, turned and said, "Thank you, that reminds me of a story." And here it is:
She had attended a service which included in the congregation many other spiritual leaders. The guest was a well-known religious rock singer. His only bit of evangelism was to ask the question "What is the one thing Jesus asks of us?". No one answered. Again he asked, "What is the one thing Jesus asks of us?". Still no one answered. The room was very quiet, and most notably so, she said, amongst those who regularly "delivered the word".
"I'll tell you", said the singer. "It is, Feed the Poor. And that is the only bit of evangelizing I am going to do." With that, he broke into a beautiful song.
Although the singer was probably overstating his case for emphasis, we agreed that "feeding the poor" could encompass many aspects pertaining to one's "poorness". The financially poor, the spiritually poor, the emotionally poor, the morally poor. We are asked to "lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth". We are told that we will be blessed in whatever it is we set ourselves to doing that eases the burden of the poor. He asks of us one thing. With His guidance, by fulfilling it, we can accomplish a lot.
Prayer: Thank you Father, for the many ways in which you show us that by doing one thing, we are led to doing others. In Your name we pray. Amen.