“If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.” - Deuteronomy 15v7-8
Throughout the word of God it is obvious that God has a high regard for the poor. Some things are a part of the Law that carries on into New Testament teaching. Regarding the poor is one of these teachings.
There are two basic instructions here; 1) Do not harden your heart, and 2) do not shut your hand. We can see here that the instruction is twofold; it is a heart matter as well as a hand matter. It is not good enough to just have sympathy and have pity on the poor. Jesus makes this clear when He gave the illustration about how those who mistreated the poor actually showed they mistreated Him.
James makes it clear that having regard to persons is sin. In too many churches and in too many lives meeting the needs of the poor has taken a back seat to other church activities. We have plenty of time and money for fellowships, activities, ladies, men, and youth meetings, retreats, conferences, etc. How much time and expense is taken to meet the needs of the poor? Are people going hungry while we feast at our “fellowships”?
Let each of us carefully consider our hearts to see if we have hard hearts and closed hands in regard to the poor.