Friday 27 March, 2015
Deuteronomy 15:7-11THE POOR WILL ALWAYS HAVE WITH YOU
Give generously to [your fellow Israelites] and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land.(part vss 10-11)
Any assessment of progress towards achieving the Millennium Goals will show a mixed picture. Some targets have been met; others are still being moved towards. A few may by now have been shown to be impractical, or in need of amendment. New needs have arisen in the last decade, as new situations arise worldwide. No one pretends that global poverty will be finally eliminated by the 2015 deadline that these goals set. As Jesus remarked in another context, ‘The poor you will always have with you’ (Matthew 26:11).
The writer of Deuteronomy understands the continuing presence of the poor to be offering the better-off a never-ending opportunity of blessing. It is by responding with generosity to the needs of those around us that we open ourselves to receiving God’s gifts. By contrast, God’s judgement is reserved for those who are grudging towards their neighbours, or hope that they will find the relief that they need elsewhere. Thus, far from being an excuse to do nothing, the fact that there will always be poor people near at home and in far-off countries becomes an invitation to meet God by serving them.
In truth, if we cannot achieve environmental sustainability, we will all become increasingly poor and needy. Only global development in partnership will enable us to continue to enjoy the blessings of God’s creation. If together we meet each other’s needs, then together we will receive all that God has to offer.
Prayer † ‘God loves a cheerful giver’ – Lord, help me always to notice the needs of those around me, and to respond generously using the gifts that you have given me. Amen
The World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) is a fellowship of 75 million Reformed Christians in 214 churches in 107 countries. Its member churches are Congregational, Presbyterian, Reformed and United churches with roots in the 16th-century Reformation led by John Calvin, John Knox and others. WARC has a small secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland.