Wednesday, July 18, 2012
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The old wisdom is that the way to a man's heart is, yeah, through his stomach. Actually I think that's true, but I believe that the way to a parent's heart is through their children. And I have to admit that I'm one of those who feels that way. I mean, you really have a warm feeling toward people who are kind to your children. And, you know, when our kids were young, that was really especially true. It was important to me when people remember my child's name or maybe their birthday.
Most of all, well, I really felt warmly toward those people who didn't just act like my kids weren't there; they took time to actually talk with them like they were people. I guess I noticed the people who didn't treat my kids right too. You know, it was hard to have warm feelings toward them. Actually there is a Heavenly Father watching you and me too, and He's responding to our treatment of some people He really loves. So, I wonder if you're giving your Father (capital F, Father) those warm feelings?
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Way to Your Father's Heart."
Proverbs 19:17 is where we will find our word for today from the Word of God, and here's what it says: "He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward him for what he has done." Well, that's pretty clear what God is saying. There is a group of people that are very special to Him, and He's watching how they're treated, as I watch how people treat my children. We're told here that the poor are special to God.
That's not just in this verse. In fact, all through the Old Testament over and over again, righteousness is actually equated with how you treat the poor. The Old Testament law is very careful in providing for the care of the poor. And in Luke 4:18, Jesus preached His first sermon and He says, "I have come to preach good news to the poor."
It's pretty clear from this verse that our Heavenly Father is watching how we treat the poor. And not only that, but He takes it personally. It says that the person who was kind to the poor, lends not to them but to the Lord. That's interesting. It tells you something about your commitment to the Lord and your unselfish love when you do something for the poor, because, well, they can't do anything back for you. You're really giving. There's nothing in it for you. You know what? We're surrounded today by people who God the Father has His eyes on. They're the homeless people that might be within our reach, or that family out of work right within your circle of influence, a struggling single parent who's having a very difficult time making ends meet. There are some hungry people maybe near you and a world away from us.
If you are attuned to God's heart, you're going to be involved in treating the poor like Jesus did. Maybe you need to be looking for an inner city ministry working among poor people. See, the hardest ministry to support in America is work in the inner city or on Indian reservations. Well, everybody seems to care about their turf, and maybe that's totally beyond your own personal world.
Put your money, your time, mobilize your church to do something about needy people wherever they are, not just long distance loving. I'm talking about getting your hands dirty, personal involvement, family involvement. Teach your kids how to have a heart for the poor. Work first hand with some less fortunate people; help lift their burden. Do the work of God on earth. By the way, those folks have a lot to teach you. Pray this, "Lord, it's so easy just to drive by; to write people off as lazy or just to care about what's close to me, what's like me. But I know, Lord, You have Your eyes on the poor. Would you give me Your heart for the poor and a way to take a piece of that action in my world? You know what the Bible says will happen? "He will reward you."
Embracing a poor person or a poor family? Apparently that's the way to your Father's heart.