“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.” (ESV)
Have you ever wasted money and you knew it? That’s a frustrating feeling. Maybe it isn’t at the time (or else you probably wouldn’t have done it!), but eventually that little nagging sense of regret develops and you have to decide you’ll ignore it or else find a way to make amends.
I enjoy playing video games. I’ve spent a lot of money on them over the years. I don’t know that I would even want to attempt to guess how much if I could. It’s a lot. It’s a lot of money that I will never get back. It can’t be used for anything else. Now, yes, I could try and justify that some of it went to shared experiences that fostered relationships and that’s not a bad thing. But I don’t know that I can say anything resembling a majority of it fits in that category. Imagine how much I could have done with it if I had saved it for something more meaningful and significant instead…
Do you know what money I’ve parted with that I don’t regret? Money that’s been used to help someone else. Over the years I have had the opportunity at various times to use money for the benefit of someone else. I’ll never be able to use that money again for anything else either. But I don’t regret it. I don’t miss it. I’ve never wondered what else I could have done with it. I’ve never missed out on anything else because of it. And, where it was a blessing to someone else, that is something I got back.
When we give to help other people, we are using our resources in a manner consistent with how God would have them used. And, since everything belongs to God anyway (see Psalm 50), using our resources in the way He would have them used is always the right thing to do.
As Solomon points out here, when we give to help others, and in particular the poor, it’s like we are loaning the money to God. Well, God always repays His loans. With interest. It may not be with money, but He will always make sure our needs never go unmet when we are using what He has given us in the first place to help the people around us see their own needs met.
There are lots of things we can do for ourselves with our money that will not ultimately be for the benefit of anyone including ourselves. We will ultimately regret most of those expenses. But, money given for the benefit of someone else we will neither miss nor regret. It is money given as if to the Lord and He will always give back more than we gave out. It may not come back around in the same form it went out, but His resources are endless, varied, and always perfectly suited for the need they are sent to address.