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Deep Pockets of Grace: the Call to Generosity

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“A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion.
Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.
He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.”
~ Psalm 112:5-7

In Psalm 112 God describes for us some of the attributes of what He defines as a “good man”. Our text, vv. 5-7 of that Psalm 112, tells us how a “good man” treats people who need help: a “good man” shows favor and lends money to those in need.

God says a lot in His Word about how we should treat our fellow man. However, one stark aspect of God’s description of a “good man” is the absence of “qualifications” or “caveats”. No mention is made of whether the “good man” has recently lost his job, or whether the “good man” is sick, or if the “good man” was low on funds.

There is also nothing said about who the “good man” is lending to: Is it a friend? Is it an enemy? Is it someone the “good man” likes or dislikes? Is the beneficiary from the same tribe/race/nationality/class? God makes no distinction. The “good man” simply “shows favour, and lendeth”, in good times or bad; and to good people and bad people.

To be clear, the Lord’s “good man” is not a fool, he is not a “patsy”; for the second clause in v. 5 tells us that the “good man” “will guide his affairs with discretion”: The “good man” knows who the needy are, he knows those who really need help and those who just need to look for a job and/or make wiser decisions.

The Lord’s “good man” uses discretion to distinguish those who need money for food from those who need money for alcohol/drugs. He uses discretion to separate those who need clothes for covering from those who need clothes for impressing.

In the following two sections, we will explore the reason why a “good man” lends and the impact of his lending on the community/society in which the good man lives.

Lending: The Lord and the Lender

love God & love neighbor-2_crop 1The last two clauses in v. 7 give us the reason why a “good man” lends: “his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord”. For the Lord’s “good man”, lending is never about the relationship between lender and lendee; nor is lending about the lender and (his) luxury/liquidity. Rather, for a “good man”, lending is about his relationship with The Lord.

A “good man” sees God as his provider: Jehovah Jireh. He recognizes that any money, any wealth, he has (justly gained) is from God. He knows that his income (whether large or small) comes from God’s provision. Moreover, he knows that God’s provision is endless. God, who gave him bread today, will give him bread tomorrow: he is “trusting in the Lord”. God, who supplied ALL his needs today, will supply ALL his needs tomorrow: he is “trusting in the Lord”.

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:19

Therefore, a “good man” does not worry about tomorrow, and so he can lend.

The truth is that most of us do not lend most of the time because we are unsure about having enough for ourselves tomorrow. We often worry:

“How can I survive until the loan is paid back?”

“What if the person does not pay me back in time?”

“What if I am not paid back at all?”

Those are legitimate concerns: lending to someone is a risk. Indeed, it is such a great risk that you can study it in universities and the whole banking industry is based on it. But those questions arise in us because we do not trust God, who tells us:

“He [the “good man”] that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will He [The Lord] pay him again.~ Proverbs 19:17

It is our trust in God that allows us to show favour and lend, it is our trust in God that allows lending to be risk free for the Believer. The banks need collateral, credit and cosigners to lend. But the Believer only needs the Lord! Jesus underscores this point further when He issued the following challenge:sunrise+windmill-cropped

But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.~ Luke 6:35-36

Jesus not only commands that we lend, He also tells us not to expect anything back: “hoping for nothing again”. And that is as it should be, because we must look to God for our provision. It is God who determines how He provides for us; His provision may come through the repaid loan, or not. Either way, it is He who decides, so LOOK to Him: we must put our hope in Him ALONE and nothing else.

“My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.” ~ Psalm 121:2-3

Whether we lend or not, it is God who sustains us: we live according to His provision, not ours. We are free to lend, to take care of the needs of the poor because it is God’s provision anyway. Whatever we give comes from God’s storehouse, and there are lots more. God will provide for our needs.

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.
I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
He [the “good man”] is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.” ~ Psalm 37:23-26

Like the “good man” let us “fix” our hearts, steadfastly trusting in God: knowing that we are free to share from His bounty, because He will never let us down: God will supply all our needs.

Lending: The Lord, the Lender and the Lendee

love God + love neighborWhy does God place such a premium on lending, on tending to the needs of the poor? One reason, discussed above, is that it is an objective and tangible measure of how much we trust Him. However, there is an additional reason; specifically, the testimony that “a good man” who “sheweth favour, and lendeth” is to those around him. To help us understand, let us consider the following passage of Scripture:

“The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” ~ Proverbs 22:7

This proverb serves as a clear warning: instructing Believers to carefully avoid being in debt because the borrower comes under the control of the lender. Nevertheless, as our text indicates, sometimes a ‘good man” is called upon to lend to someone in need. It is on that “side of the coin” that the above proverb reveals another pointed message. The borrower IS servant to the lender, irrefutably. But what if the lender is God’s “good man”? If the lender is God’s “good man”, the borrower has the opportunity to experience being a servant of GOD by proxy.

  • Those who borrow from God’s “good man” will experience fairness; they won’t be gouged because they are in a weak position.
  • Those who borrow from God’s “good man” will have mercy, they will (by discretion, see v. 5) get a second chance (and a third and a fourth…) when they slip up.
  • Those who borrow from God’s “good man” will obtain forgiveness, when they fail.
  • Those who borrow from God’s “good man” will be loved: treated as persons; not profit-opportunities and not just numbers in a spreadsheet.
  • Those who borrow from God’s “good man” will have a chance to see what faith in God looks like;
    • They will see what it is like to be a part of the family of God:
    • They will see how God takes care of the needs of the righteous: those who put their trust in Him.
    • They will see how God’s “good man” copes with adversity and trials, how the travails of life press a “good man” ever closer within the arms of his Holy Father: for “He shall not be afraid of evil tidings” (v. 7).
    • They will see that “his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord” (v. 7).
    • They will see how different life could be with God as their master instead of the world.

“A good man” who “sheweth favour, and lendeth” is not just giving money or goods away. God’s “good man” is shining The Light of Christ into the lives of those in need: he is giving a testimony towards salvation.

“Surely [God’s good man”] shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.” ~ Psalm 112:6

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