Bible Society of South Africa
Frank Retief

Remember his strength – Day 8

Do it now

Bible text(s)

27Whenever you possibly can, do good to those who need it. 28Never tell your neighbours to wait until tomorrow if you can help them now.

Proverbs 3:27-28GNBOpen in Bible reader

Faith and Actions

14My brothers and sisters, what good is it for people to say that they have faith if their actions do not prove it? Can that faith save them? 15Suppose there are brothers or sisters who need clothes and don't have enough to eat. 16What good is there in your saying to them, “God bless you! Keep warm and eat well!” — if you don't give them the necessities of life? 17So it is with faith: if it is alone and includes no actions, then it is dead.

James 2:14-17GNBOpen in Bible reader

Here is a word in season for all of us. There is, within our fallen nature, a basic tendency towards stinginess in thought, word and deed. We often find it hard to rejoice when others prosper and, sometimes, are perversely satisfied when others fail. We also tend to criticise, rather than build up, and to think negatively about people rather than lovingly.

This proverb takes an opposite view. For believers, God’s fairness and justice should permeate all of life, as indeed should generosity and compassion.

So, when someone has done well and deserves a word of encouragement, why not pass in on. It costs us nothing and we never know what that “reward” may reproduce in their lives. Many a tale could be told of a young man or woman making a crucial decision at a vulnerable time in their lives, as the result of a word in season from a friend, and their lives then turning out to be a blessing to many others. Moreover, with the electronic tools available to us today, it is so easy to say something positive, uplifting and encouraging to someone who is trying hard to do the right thing, but is currently feeling discouraged.

So, too, with the giving of material help. With the huge needs around us now, it is not easy to know who to give to or how we should do it. However, this is not the problem in this proverb. Rather, it is the inner spontaneity to want to help. Often, we try to get out of giving money or goods – especially with the amount of begging and con artists we have in our society. Still, there are also, very often, genuine needs brought before us where we can help, be it ever so little. The Bible says, in effect, “give now” – not tomorrow.

I had a missionary friend who was invited to a very needy area to present the gospel. However, he did not have the money to pay the ferry to take him there. He prayed and waited, but nothing happened. As a result, he could not go and the opportunity was lost. The next day, he received a letter from a supporter with the exact amount of money in it that he needed for the fare. The supporter said, “I meant to get this to you yesterday. I felt a strong urge to do so, but I was distracted. I hope you can use this gift for the gospel.” It was good of him to give, but he delayed and as a result, a good opportunity to spread the good news was lost.

Compare the words of Proverbs 3:27-28 with James 2:14-17. Let us determine to be openhearted, encouraging and as generous as our circumstances allow, so that we may imitate our Father in heaven.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.16
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