Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses. (Proverbs 28:27)
It didn’t take long after our lockdown two years ago to realize that the pandemic was going to be a massive boon for some businesses—especially tech-centric businesses like Zoom, Uber Eats, and streaming entertaining services mostly staffed by high-wage workers. Conversely, other sectors of the economy such as restaurants and hotels, which are mostly staffed by lower-wage workers, took a massive hit and continue to suffer to this day.
Once again, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. How are you and I called to respond to that sobering reality? The way the Church has always been called to respond! As today’s proverb makes clear, we are commanded to give generously to the poor. What could that look like practically in this cultural moment?
First, if you’re one whom this economy has blessed financially, it could look like being generous with your money. That could mean overtipping at restaurants, or choosing to donate not just to organizations meeting spiritual needs in your community, but also organizations meeting the material needs of the poor.
Second, it could look like being generous with your time. Do you know a single mom who doesn’t enjoy a flexible work schedule like you do? Offer to pick up her kids after school! Are you a talented entrepreneur? Spend some time launching a new business with the explicit intent of creating jobs for those hit hardest by this pandemic.
Finally, if you’re a leader of an organization, consider how you can be generous to the poor via your organization’s policies. That could mean choosing to pay your workers every other day instead of every other week to make it easier for them to make ends meet, or raising the question of whether your work from home policies are working for everyone from the top to the bottom of your org. chart.
Those are just a few ideas to get you thinking about how you can obey Scripture’s frequent command to be generous to the poor. As you explore your own personal response, remember these words from Proverbs 19:17: “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.” May that promise and the pain of the poor around you compel you to loving action today!