Solomon reminds us again that God is the maker of ALL mankind. Mocking those who struggle insults their Maker. “There but for the grace of God go I.”
This verse sounded very familiar so I went looking. I tried first to see if there was one exactly like it. There isn’t. Then I narrowed it down to the term “mock” and “poor.” I had a little more success with these two terms but still couldn’t find the verse I was looking for. I finally found it when I put in the terms “insults his Maker.” This brought me to Proverbs 14:31. “Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.”
Now I need to define two of the terms. To mock someone means to “1) tease or laugh at in a scornful or contemptuous manner, 2) make (something) seem laughably unreal or impossible, 3) mimic (someone or something) scornfully or contemptuously.” To oppress someone means to “1)
keep (someone) in subservience and hardship, especially by the unjust exercise of authority, 2) cause (someone) to feel distressed, anxious, or uncomfortable.” These terms are not complete synonyms but they convey some of the same ideas. They are terms that describe abuses of another.
God says He is insulted by such behavior. He LOVES ALL of His children. He has a tender heart towards those who struggle. Jesus’ ministry was conducted among such people. He healed the sick and broken hearted, set the captive free, broke the bonds of oppression, fed the poor, and gave even of Himself to the needy. There are SO MANY stories where He reached into the lives of ordinary people, some of whom had already spent all they had, and touched them without cost. He NEVER turned anyone away when they earnestly sought help. Very seldom did He perform miracles for the wealthy.
Jesus didn’t stay away from the wealthy because they didn’t have any needs. He didn’t ‘hang out’ with them because they felt they had no need for Him. Their money could buy whatever help they needed; or so they believed. Many of the wealthy were also the ones oppressing and mocking those He was serving.
Do you remember the story of the man who was born blind that Jesus healed? After he was healed the Pharisees accused him and his parents of lying about his condition. For many years this man had sat in plain view of these very men. Occasionally they may have dropped a coin or two onto his blanket. But they never lifted a hand to raise him from his poverty. They never once questioned that he was blind. Instead, they assumed him guilty of some sin and KEPT him far from them. I would not be the least bit surprised to find that they mocked him and his circumstance in life as he sat begging. They certainly did after his healing. They even threw him out of the Synagogue when they didn’t like the answers he gave.
There are poor people all over the world. Some are in this situation because of their own choices, some from unforeseen circumstances, and others from natural resource shortages. As there are different reasons for someone to be poor, there are also different levels of poverty. Some may consider themselves poor because they don’t make enough money to meet all their needs or wants. Some are considered poor because they lack housing. Some even lack the ability to afford life sustaining food. God sees them ALL.
NO ONE asks to be poor. Some may take a “vow of poverty” but that is different from not having enough to eat. For those who have enough, we need to stop and realize that if circumstances changed in our lives that could be any of us on the street corner. “There but for the grace of God go I!”
And it IS His grace that has allowed me to be blessed. He has watched over me in SO MANY different ways. I have been at the point of not knowing if my food would hold out until more money arrived. I had to be VERY careful with how I spent what did come in. I used to tell my kids, “My pennies cry THANK YOU as they leave my hand because I pinch them so hard.” He worked wonders by providing the right opportunities and resources at the moment I needed them.
I will in NO WAY though say that those who don’t have the ability to search out resources or even have any available are being punished by God or lack His grace. God LOVES them as surely as He loves me. I will NEVER laugh at their situation or blame them. I do NOT know what their story is and I am NOT the judge of their hearts.
I believe God calls us to reach out to those in need. I can’t do everything but I can do something. Instead of blaming, mocking, or oppressing those in need, ask God what He would have you do. Listen and obey when He answers you. First and foremost, though, He calls us to pray for those in need. This is the MOST important thing we can do. Prayer is POWERFUL and changes lives! I wonder what this world would look like if EVERY child of God prayed for those in need. Would Heaven shake at the sound? Would Heaven empty as angels RUSHED to every corner of the world to minister to those held up in prayer? I would LOVE to see these questions answered by watching the evidence happen!
Father God, I want to be Your hands and feet. I want to minister to those in need. Forgive me for EVERY time I passed judgment on someone on the street corner. I know some do it deceptively but that is Yours to judge. Help me show love, even if it is only in the form of a smile. Remind me ALWAYS to at LEAST pray for them, even if I only do it from the safety of my own vehicle.