“He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what he has given” (Proverbs 19:17 NKJV).
“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed” (Proverbs 19:17 ESV).
One of my favorite financial principles in the whole Bible is the fact that he who gives to the poor lends to the Lord, and the Lord will pay back what he has given.
What does this mean, in a nutshell?
It means that, if you love blessing people, you have a blank check with God to do so. It means that God takes it personally when you bless the poor, and He will make sure to reimburse you for your expenditures personally.
Who is considered to be “the poor”?
Well, first, let’s look at who is NOT poor–and that is God. God is not poor; the whole earth, as well as everything in heaven and earth, belong to Him.
As it says in Psalm 24:
“The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein. For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters” (Psalm 24:1-2 NKJV).
This means nothing belongs to us at all. Everything in Heaven and earth belongs to God.
Read about how everything belongs to God also here in 1 Chronicles, from the prayer of King David:
“Therefore David blessed the Lord before all the assembly; and David said:
‘Blessed are You, Lord God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head over all.
Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. Now therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name.
But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, and of Your own we have given You” (1 Chronicles 29:10-14 NKJV).
Everything in Heaven and earth belongs to God.
You and I are not owners; we are merely stewards. We are all just taking care of God’s stuff, and managing His items and His money for Him. No matter how rich or poor we are, you and I own nothing and have nothing. It’s all His.
And that, therefore, means this: since we all have nothing, we are all poor compared to God.
But how do you discern who is considered “poor” in any given moment?
How do you apply the principle practically about “He who gives to the poor lends to the Lord”?
It’s simple. The Hebrew word that is translated “poor” in this verse literally means “low, poor, weak, thin, one who is low.” Therefore:
- Anyone who has less than you in any given moment is considered poor.
- Anyone who is feeling low is considered poor.
- Anyone who ranks lower than you on some kind of economic scale or positional scale is considered poor.
- Anyone who is struggling with a weakness is considered poor.
- Anyone who is living in meagerness is considered poor.
Anyone whom you have the capacity to help–anyone who has a burden or is suffering or low in any way–is considered poor.
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And we are called to bear one another’s burdens. That’s why God Himself funds the burden-bearing.
Our burdens on this earth are many and varied. We all suffer from time to time, whether from discouragement or lack or whatever the case may be. But you know what? We are to bear one another’s burdens:
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 NKJV).
So when you notice your brother or sister struggling with something, you are called to help in whatever way you can.
We can all help in different ways.
Sometimes, your help will be financial, and sometimes it will not be. But, when it comes to money, I have noticed that the Lord will increase you financially the more you give to the poor.
But you do have to give before the rivers of money from Heaven start flowing. You are ALWAYS the initiator of the process.
A lot of people tell me, “I will give when God gives me something to give.” And that makes me sad, because it will never happen for them. That’s not how God works.
God’s Word commands us to give from what we do have, even if we don’t have very much–and even if we can only give a “widow’s mite.” Then, and only then, do we receive money back in return.
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As Jesus said in Luke 6:38:
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38 NKJV).
You must ALWAYS initiate the flow of money yourself by GIVING.
After all, He gives seed to the sower:
“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written:
‘He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.’
Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.
For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you.
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:6-15 NKJV, emphasis mine).
You have to already be a sower in order to receive additional seed.
That means you have to be the first one to choose to give to others, and to sow into the Kingdom.
But, when you do initiate the flow of money yourself by giving–first your tithes and offerings, and then to the poor–God will respond by making sure that money flows back into your bosom “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over.” (See Luke 6:38, quoted above.)
And when you give to the poor, God will pay you back, dollar-for-dollar.
Or pound for pound, peso for peso, rand for rand, baht for baht. Whatever your currency is, when you give to the poor, God considers it a loan to Himself. And He will pay you back.
His interest rates are very good, too.
Proverbs 19:17 promises that you will get everything back that you gave. But, Jesus expounded on that in Luke 6:38 and told us that He will actually give us back more than we gave. Therefore, when you give to the poor, ask the Lord for whatever you want Him to give back to you! I have done that, and it works!
After all, Jesus promised in John 14:14:
“If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:14 NKJV).
So what should you do when you see someone struggling with a need?
If you see someone with a need, you should help them to whatever extent you can. You have God’s unlimited financial resources backing you up to do so.
Always exercise wisdom; don’t get into sin yourself by going into debt or anything like that. But, the Bible tells us to help those whom we see with a need:
“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?
If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?
Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.
You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (James 2:14-24 NKJV).
Faith without works is dead. Therefore, when you see someone who has a need …
… Someone who is feeling low today …
… Or someone who is hanging on by a thread …
Ask the Lord what you should do to help them.
He who gives to the poor lends to the Lord, and the Lord will pay back what he has given.
Always remember that you are not an owner; you are a steward. You are only managing God’s stuff for Him, and you do not have permission to say no to Him if He tells you to do something. Disobedience is sin, even when it makes us uncomfortable to obey. But we are all only managers, and we must steward God’s resources the way He tells us to.
In closing, I want you to see how closely God connects giving to the poor with righteousness.
Look again at 2 Corinthians 9:9:
“As it is written: ‘He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever’” (2 Corinthians 9:9 NKJV).
In this passage, Holy Spirit chose to show us that His “dispersing abroad” (which is giving liberally and generously to all) and the fact that “He has given to the poor” are direct lead-ins to the fact that His righteousness endures forever.
Pause and think about that.
He didn’t say, “I am the Ancient of Days and I sit upon My throne over the circle of the earth; My righteousness endures forever,” even though that is also true. But instead, He chose to tell us about His righteousness by demonstrating it through His giving to the poor.
That one thing tells us something BIG about how important giving to the poor is to God.
And if giving to the poor is that important to God, then it should be equally important to us.
Beloved, you have a blank check with God to do His Kingdom work whenever you see His people in need on the earth.
Pray and ask the Lord how to get started. You can just pray this simple prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, I come before You in Jesus’ name. Thank You for Your Word today, and thank You for giving so much to me. You have been generous and kind to me all the days of my life, and I praise You for that.
Father, I see from Your Word how important it is to You that I should bear my brothers’ and sisters’ burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. You went so far as to say that You consider it a personal loan to Yourself when I give to the poor–even though I am only giving from Your own resources.
Abba Father, I want to operate out of Your heart in this and everything else. Would You please show me today, and every day going forward, how to give to the poor and lend to You? Would You speak in my ear every moment, whenever You want me to bless someone, and help me hear Your instructions clearly?
Also, Father, Your Word says that You would pay back everything I give to the poor. I claim that promise today, and I ask that as You lead me, You would pay me back speedily for everything I spend on giving to the poor and bearing one another’s burdens.
Thank You, Abba, for Your Word. You are faithful and true, and Your righteousness endures forever. Thank You for allowing me to participate in Your work on the earth. Thank You for Your wisdom and leadership in this area. In Jesus’ mighty and precious name I pray, amen.”
Beloved, giving is an addiction–but God will fund your habit.
Ask Him today what He wants you to do to bless someone or sow into His Kingdom. And whatever He shows you, do it! It’s between you and Him, but He always keeps His accounts up to date–and He will pay you back.
Does this word about giving to the poor and receiving reimbursement from the Lord bring joy to your heart today? What is the Lord saying to you about this topic? Leave a comment below!