April 8, 2024


Proverbs 19:17 - Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.


Proverbs 19:17 teaches us a profound truth about kindness and generosity, especially towards the poor. The proverb states, "Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed." This verse reveals that when we show kindness and generosity to those in need, it is as if we are lending to the Lord Himself. God takes note of our acts of compassion and promises to reward us. The Bible consistently emphasizes the importance of caring for the poor and needy. God has a special concern for those who are marginalized, oppressed, and struggling. Throughout the Old Testament, there were laws and commands to ensure that the poor were provided for, such as leaving the edges of fields unharvested so the poor could glean (Leviticus 19:9-10), forgiving debts every seven years (Deuteronomy 15:1-2), and tithing to support those in need (Deuteronomy 14:28-29). In the New Testament, Jesus demonstrated compassion for the poor and taught that caring for those in need is a mark of true discipleship (Matthew 25:31-46). The early church modeled radical generosity, sharing their possessions and ensuring that no one was in need (Acts 2:44-45, 4:32-35). Proverbs 19:17 goes a step further in revealing that our kindness to the poor is not just a good deed, but an act of worship and service to God Himself. When we give generously, we are expressing our love and gratitude to the Lord. We are acknowledging that all we have comes from Him, and we are stewarding our resources to bless others as He has blessed us. Moreover, this proverb contains a beautiful promise - that God will repay us for our generosity. This is not a tit-for-tat transaction, but a reflection of God's abundant grace. Jesus taught that when we give, it will be given back to us, pressed down, shaken together and running over (Luke 6:38). Paul wrote that God loves a cheerful giver and is able to bless us abundantly so that we can be generous on every occasion (2 Corinthians 9:6-11). Ultimately, our motivation for kindness and generosity should not be to earn rewards, but to express our love for God and others. We give freely because He first gave to us. And yet, we can trust that God sees and values our acts of compassion, no matter how small or hidden. Every cup of cold water given in Jesus' name will be remembered and rewarded (Mark 9:41).


As I reflect on Proverbs 19:17, I am struck by the incredible privilege and opportunity we have to serve God through serving others. So often, I can get caught up in my own needs, wants and priorities. I can walk through life focused on my own agenda, oblivious to the struggles and pain of those around me. But this proverb reminds me that God cares deeply about the poor and needy, and He invites me to partner with Him in showing compassion. I think about the many ways I can show kindness and generosity, both in big ways and small. I can donate money, food or clothing to local ministries serving the homeless or low-income families. I can volunteer my time at a soup kitchen, a nursing home, or an after-school program. I can look for opportunities to help a neighbor in need, whether that's running an errand, sharing a meal, or offering a listening ear. Even a smile, a kind word, or an encouraging note can brighten someone's day and reflect God's love. But if I'm honest, sometimes I hesitate to give generously because I worry about my own resources and security. I may fear that if I give too much, I won't have enough for myself. This proverb challenges that scarcity mindset and calls me to a deeper faith. It reminds me that when I am generous to the poor, I am actually giving to the Lord. I am not just relying on my own limited resources, but I am partnering with the God of abundance who owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10). I can trust Him to provide for my needs as I obey His call to generosity. Moreover, this proverb shifts my perspective on what it means to be "repaid." So often, I can give with an expectation of recognition, appreciation or reciprocation. But God's reward is not always immediate or tangible. It may come in the form of a deeper joy, a richer faith, or an eternal inheritance. Ultimately, the greatest reward is simply knowing that I am pleasing God and participating in His kingdom work. As I meditate on this verse, I feel both convicted and inspired. Convicted of the times I have ignored the needs around me or given grudgingly out of obligation. But inspired by the truth that every act of kindness, no matter how small, is seen and valued by God. I am reminded that generosity is not just a nice thing to do, but an essential part of following Jesus. It is a tangible way to express my love for God and my neighbor, and to store up treasures in heaven rather than on earth (Matthew 6:19-21). May I never underestimate the power of a simple act of kindness. May I never forget that every person I encounter is made in the image of God and deeply loved by Him. And may I always remember that when I am generous to the poor, I am lending to the Lord and participating in His heart for justice, mercy and compassion. What a privilege and a joy it is to be a conduit of His love and grace in a hurting world.


Gracious and loving God, Thank You for the incredible privilege of partnering with You in showing kindness and generosity to those in need. Thank You for the truth of Proverbs 19:17, that when we give to the poor, we are lending to You. What an amazing thought, that You, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, would entrust us with the opportunity to serve You by serving others. Forgive me, Lord, for the times I have ignored the needs around me or given grudgingly out of obligation. Forgive me for the times I have hoarded my resources out of fear or selfishness. Renew my heart with Your compassion and generosity. Open my eyes to see the people around me as You see them - beloved children made in Your image, worthy of dignity, respect and care. Give me a heart that is quick to listen, eager to serve, and ready to give. Help me to hold loosely to the resources You have entrusted to me, and to steward them wisely for Your purposes. May I never underestimate the power of a simple act of kindness to reflect Your love and grace. Thank You for the promise that when we give, we will also receive. Not necessarily in material ways, but in the joy, peace and satisfaction of knowing we are pleasing You and participating in Your kingdom work. Help me to trust in Your provision and to give freely, without expectation of reward or recognition. Ultimately, may my generosity flow from a heart that is captivated by Your love and grace. May it be a natural overflow of the gratitude I feel for all You have done for me. And may it point others to the ultimate gift of Your Son Jesus, who gave His life so that we could be reconciled to You. In His precious and holy name I pray, Amen.

Generated Image(s)

Lending to the Lord - A heart overflowing with grace.

Lending to the Lord - A heart overflowing with grace.

This image was generated by AI from the devotion text.