#DailyDevotion How You Treat The Poor Is How You Treat The Lord
Luke 12: 16 Then He told them a story: “A rich man had good crops on his land. 17‘What am I going to do? he said to himself. ‘I have no place to store my crops.’ 18Finally he said, “This is what I’ll do: I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones and store all my grain and goods in them. 19Then I’ll say to myself, “You have a lot of good things stored up for many years. Take life easy, eat, drink, and enjoy yourself.” 20“But God said to him, ‘You fool, tonight you die. And what you’ve prepared — who will get it?’ 21That’s how it is when you store up goods for yourself and aren’t rich toward God.”
In this parable Jesus presents one way we can be greedy. It is greediness of hoarding everything God has blessed us with for ourselves. We can note there are several things the rich man didn’t do with his overabundance of crops God had blessed him with which any good Jew would have done.
The first thing he didn’t do was offer up the first fruits of his crops. In this way he wasn’t rich towards God. Exo 23:16 “You shall keep the Feast of Harvest, of the firstfruits of your labor, of what you sow in the field. You shall keep the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor.” Num 18:13 “The first ripe fruits of all that is in their land, which they bring to the LORD, shall be yours. Everyone who is clean in your house may eat it.” The priest and his family who were clean were to partake of the first fruits of the land.
Secondly, we don’t hear the rich man rejoicing that he has much to tithe with now. Now there were two tithes, a yearly tithe and a 3 year tithe. Deu 14:23 “And before the LORD your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always…27 And you shall not neglect the Levite who is within your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance with you.” Deu 26:12-13 “When you have finished paying all the tithe of your produce in the third year, which is the year of tithing, giving it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your towns and be filled, (13) then you shall say before the LORD your God, ‘I have removed the sacred portion out of my house, and moreover, I have given it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all your commandment that you have commanded me. I have not transgressed any of your commandments, nor have I forgotten them.”Here we see the yearly tithe was to be enjoyed by the man, his family and the priests. The third year tithe was to be enjoyed by the priests, the foreigners, the orphans and the widows.
Does the rich man have any thought towards blessings God with these required offerings of the Torah? It doesn’t seem so. He wants to store it all for himself to eat, drink and be merry for years to come. We don’t even hear he has plans for a thanksgiving offering or a peace offering.
Perhaps the rich man forgot these words he would had learned in Saturday School Pro 19:17 “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.” Pro 14:21 “Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor.”
Pro 28:27 “Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.” Pro 11:24 “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.” If under the Torah of the Lord these things are true how much more so it is true for us who have been freed under the New Covenant? Paul writes, Rom 8:32 “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” If this is so, should we not even more so open our hand with our worldly goods towards the poor among us?
Gracious God and Father, you did not give to us meager gifts but opened your hand toward us poor miserable sinners with the gift of your son Jesus Christ and with him all things. Open our hearts to those poor around us that we not withhold your gifts to us from them. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.