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Freely Received, Freely Give

Wealth and Riches are inherited, so is Poverty. It is easy to flaunt about the riches, talents or blessings we have but is it the same when it comes to the areas where we lack? The dictionary meaning of poverty is “Any deficiency of elements or resources that are needed or desired or that constitute richness”. This implies that poverty just doesn’t mean lack of material or worldly possessions but lack of anything that is needed. Interestingly, the first beatitude in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 is the blessing for the poor in spirit and their inheritance is the Kingdom of Heaven.

The world around us portrays the rich as those who possess plenty of material possessions, but they fail to realize the poverty in their souls and the lack of a godly Spirit. Mother Teresa quotes in her book “A Simple Path”, “The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or Leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair and hopelessness is love.”
We must have come across people who fail to acknowledge, affirm or appreciate anything good. They fail to give because they have not received the same. When we receive the abundant wealth from Christ such as love, joy, peace, hope, etc. we start to give the same to others. When we look around we find many who lack basic necessities in life. How does my heart respond to it? Can we deny help because they are not Christians? They may not accept our faith but does that justify us from not granting them help. To change the hearts and minds of people is in God’s hands. So let’s break the barriers and lend our hand to help the needy and love the unlovable.

I am greatly challenged by one of my mentors, the way he is mindful of the physical needs as well as the spiritual needs of those begging for alms. It is not just the way to heaven being shown by a gospel tract but a way to fill an empty stomach. God sees the desires of our heart. Often our desires are for a good job, successful career, and such other things. Most of the time God honours those desires. How often do we desire to help the sweepers, gardeners, or the security persons in our compound? Yet another time when I was challenged by a mentor is when she was guided by the Holy Spirit to help a sweeper lady on the street. Without knowing whether the lady is a Christian or not, aunty invited her home and gave her a meal. When she was introduced to the gospel she revealed that she is a believer and also a widow. Aunty prayed for her and the lady was greatly touched by the act of love that she couldn’t control her tears.

God has placed each of us in our respective places (be it a school, college, workplace or even in our own homes) with a purpose; and in that purpose He definitely wants us to touch the lives of people. Sometimes it may not be financial help that God desires from us, but to pour out God’s love to the hopeless and the unlovable. Let us think about ourselves, are we mindful of the needs of the poor and the less fortunate? Does their deprivation trouble us to the extent that we lend a helping hand to them? Does the Holy Spirit guide me to any needy person? Let us pray that our eyes, ears and hearts be open to the silent cries of people who are in need. Let us also desire to share the wealth we received from Christ to the needy. Freely we have received and freely let us give.

Renu Pankaj works with Tata Consultancy Services in Chennai and she is part of Kodambakkam EGF

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