Bible Society of South Africa
Neville Turley

Preserved in Jesus Christ – Day 8

Be Kind to Poor Relations

Bible text(s)

24Kind words are like honey — sweet to the taste and good for your health.

Proverbs 16:24GNBOpen in Bible reader

45The King will reply, ‘I tell you, whenever you refused to help one of these least important ones, you refused to help me.’

Matthew 25:45GNBOpen in Bible reader

20There was also a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who used to be brought to the rich man's door,

Luke 16:20GNBOpen in Bible reader

We are constantly being told that we live in a global village. The world has certainly shrunk. At present, South Africa hosts many poor relations. Men and women have fled from harsh regimes and war inflicted territories to seek a safer haven under a gentler sun.

They all crave kindness and most need assistance. We should try to help where we can, as xenophobia has no place in the Christian character. King Jesus will say one day, “I tell you, whenever you refused to help one of these least important ones, you refused to help me.” Matthew 25:45

Let us bring this closer to home. One thing that most families have in common are poor relations. For not everyone in every family prospers equally well. Some relations are poor because they made wrong choices in their earlier years and have never managed to overcome the consequences. Others are poor because of circumstances beyond their control.

A man once told me of his consternation when he first heard that his brother had abandoned all he had, had taken to the road and was now living rough. Some months later, he was driving in his kombi, with his children and their friends, when he saw his brother walking alongside the road. To save his children embarrassment, he looked the other way and accelerated past his brother.

Families who were once close units, sometimes split apart. Wills and testaments can also cause bitterness and estrangement. Most often, siblings simply drift away as they pursue their own interests and become strangers to each other.

There may be something exciting in welcoming strangers to your home, knowing that they may well be angels in disguise. However, there is no such excitement when poor relations come knocking, for we know they are definitely not angels in disguise. Often, they are cause for embarrassment when they call without invitation.

No doubt, the rich man in Jesus’ parable felt the same way when Lazarus arrived at his door, hoping “to eat the bits of food that fell from the rich man’s table” (Luke 16:20). However, in life, the end result matters. Lazarus went to heaven whilst the rich man went to hell. All the rich man’s material wealth did not help him. Lazarus did not want much, just kindness and crumbs from the rich man’s table.

Perhaps, someone who was once close to you is longing to hear from you again. The only way to find out is to make contact. Do it now, for tomorrow may be too late.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.20
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