Your Poor Brother
Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty. Proverbs 22:16
Old Testament law of the Bible dictated that farmers should cut grain in a circular pattern. This left the corners of a field untouched, so that poor people and immigrants could harvest there for free. Few of us own fields today, so how can we interpret this? Yes, you can give money to people who help the poor, but you’re passing helping to the hands of others. There’s something exciting about giving directly to another person who has a need; that’s why God put hundreds of reminders to care for the poor in the Bible.
When Cain killed his brother, he retorted angrily to God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9). The unspoken answer is yes! We’re deeply connected to the fate of those around us. We may think, “I’ve never killed someone!” Or “I’ve earned my own money through hard work, it’s mine to spend how I please.” But those attitudes say, “My brother is on his own.”
You might metaphorically plant and harvest a whole field by yourself. But you’d never have seed to plant in the first place were it not for God’s blessing and the help of others who came before you. If you refuse to let the harvest pass through you and directly benefit your brother, you’re stealing from God and standing in the way of life for the poor who wait at the edge of the field. Try giving to someone who is in need anonymously today. You won’t have to look far.
Resource reading: Leviticus 23:22