The Need for Benevolent Christians
Personified wisdom declares plainly that a righteous, godly person is one who is benevolent (Prov. 14:21, 31; 19:17; 28:27; 29:7). Whenever we place material things first in our lives, we will find covetousness, greed and selfishness in our lives that will rob us of all attitudes that really make life worth living (cf. James 2:5). It is sad the numbers of families that have made worldliness so dominant in their lives—no wonder we are battling selfishness, lack of peace and dissatisfaction in our homes today!
In view of the current situation of thousands of needy people, Solomon said, “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee” (Prov. 3:27-28). He emphasizes the importance of benevolence in order to establish and maintain good relationships with others. Yet, in doing so, we are not to procrastinate in our benevolence. It is dangerous for us to see the opportunity of doing something good, and then delaying such so that we might not even get around to performing what we planned or thought. As a result, we will lose the benefits of what it would have done, not only for the persons directed, but also of what it would have done for us.
The benevolent attitude of liberality is an essential attitude for developing good relationships with the poor (Prov. 11:24-26; 22:9; cf. 2 Cor. 9:6-10). God will bless those who are liberal to the poor as well as the benefactors. However, a failure to be liberal will conversely affect us negatively.
Solomon even takes this further to show the true indicator of character (Prov. 17:5). Saul learned the lesson very early that our treatment of others can directly affect our relationship with God (Acts 8:1-3; 9:4-5). It is worthy of reflection to consider that a refusal to hear the plea of the poor would mean that God would close His ears unto our prayers (Prov. 21:13; James 2:13).
Just as oppression of the poor was a mark of an ungodly nation (Deut. 24:14; Eccl. 5:8), it can be the mark of an ungodly people. God has always had a special concern for the poor and needy. Anytime people of God became inconsiderate, inattentive and indifferent about these people, trouble would follow. A lack of compassion for the poor indicates that the impact of the truth of the word of God has not affected our lives.
When we think about the scathing words of Jesus pictured at the judgment in Matthew 25:31-46 and fail to understand the significance and importance of showing compassion for the needy, we are as far away from godliness as possible! May God bless and provide grace to us as we strive to develop compassion for those who have needs!