Helping the Poor, Honoring God

Yael Eckstein  |  June 28, 2024

Yael Eckstein praying at Western Wall

Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker,
  but whoever is kind to the needy honors God
. — Proverbs 14:31

We continue with devotional thoughts from the Book of Proverbs every Friday. One of the 11 books in the Torah known as the Ketuvim, Hebrew for “writings,” Proverbs is part of the “wisdom tradition,” which also includes Job and Ecclesiastes.

I read about a social experiment done in the United Kingdom. A young boy sat in a public area with a sign asking for food. It took hours before one elderly woman finally stopped to help the boy. At that point three younger women walked over and decided to buy the boy some food. However, as the experiment noted, the boy had been ignored for several hours by many before anyone chose to act.

In another story I once read, there was a young child in a restaurant who noticed a homeless man sitting outside the large glass windows looking in at the lucky people dining inside. The child insisted that his mother feed the hungry man. The woman invited the homeless man to dine with them, and as he did, all he could say over and over again was “Thank you,” tears in his eyes.

Helping the Poor, Honoring God

In Proverbs we read: “Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” Surely, we should be charitable like the people in the second story, but why is helping the poor considered a direct reflection of how we honor or dishonor God?

The answer can be found in a few stark facts. There are about eight billion people in the world. The world produces enough food for ten billion people, but one billion people go hungry every day. There is enough food for everyone, if only it was distributed fairly.

God created a system that requires us to share with others from what He has given to us. When a person denies the poor, he demonstrates that he does not care what God wants from him. However, when a person helps the poor, he honors God and demonstrates that he is obedient to God and dedicated to His purposes. Moreover, when we give to the poor, we lift up God in the poor person’s eyes.

How we treat the poor is indeed a reflection of how we honor God. If we truly honor our Father, we could never disregard His children. And when we love His children, we bring glory to His Name.

Your Turn:

How might you honor God by giving to others today? Check out the opportunities for helping others with The Fellowship.