imageMy heart and hands has always been open for those that seem to be forgotten or unfavorably known as the downtrodden. Even when I didn’t have much I still had a soft spot. Never fully understanding why. Back then I was selfish and focused on numero uno. So if I did do something for that group of people, I was typically looking for recognition in someway. You know, a way to boast myself.

 For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.’ Deuteronomy 15:11

I remember my daddy, when we were young he would help the not so fortunate, but very rarely gave them cash. I never quite understood that as a youngster. He was more prone to buy them a meal, as he never wanted to support their habit. As I got older I began to understand, but it never subsided my yearning to open my hands, as I encountered those that were less fortunate. My daddy would try to explain how many, would lie just to fill their habit or pockets. But as a little girl, it always tugged at my heart when my dad did not give to them, what seem to be a dire need for cash. One of the unique traits of my dad, he was not only business savvy, sharp as a tack, but also had a High IQ for street smarts. This was an area where my daddy said I lacked. I somehow missed that lesson growing up, street smarts 101. I was no saint, I did my dirt, back then in other ways.

Because You stand up for the poor and weak, You comfort and empower them in their distress, Giving them safe harbor and cool shade when it’s hot; You shelter them from their oppressors’ blows As a strong wall holds back the driving rain. Isaiah 25:4 VOICE

imageThen, moving right along to motherhood and my boys, John and Justin at that time were very young, about three and four years old. We were living in Atlanta, GA. During Thanksgiving when I bought our groceries, I also bought extra, for those in need. The boys and I carried the groceries into the local pantry for the church, we attended. I wanted them to know what it was like to help someone else, in a tough spot. Then again, as they got older we helped serve along side with the Salvation Army in Tyler, TX, serving
Christmas dinner in 2006. There again,  I wanted them to know how to help others not as fortunate. Truthfully, in that stage of my life I was most concerned about appearances. So while I was hoping to teach the boys a lesson on giving. I missed the biggest lesson of them all and that was giving to others, is not about recognition, being seen or heard. In fact, His word says what we do in secret He will reward us publicly in time. Matthew 6:4.

He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them. Psalm 72:12 NLT

Fast forwarding to today. He nestles in His word, we are to take care of the poor. We are to take care of the poor, lowly, widows. Fancy that it’s been there all this time and I never noticed it until now. As He continued to explode these scriptures in me, I now recognize the seed was planted long ago. Although, I had distorted thinking when it came to giving to others, way back then. It was still at the root, of my heart. So now I know I am to take care of his people. We never really know the plans God has for us, but as we avail ourselves to His will for our lives. He unfolds His plans layer by layer in our hearts and minds. My oldest, John told me one day; Momma God helps those who helps themselves. I corrected him. No son, God helps us all, when we trust and obey Him. In my core, I know helping those that are less fortunate is not for everybody, but rest assured it’s for me and anyone that’s accepts the charge. I don’t know what it all entails, but I trust God to provide for anything He orchestrates. So the obligation is on Him to perform. For you see this is way to big for me to construct, craft or create. This is a thing that is established and performed at His hand, through me.

Biblical Example

I am reminded of a widow woman that encountered Elisha the prophet. She reminded him how her husband reverenced God, and yet the creditors had come to take her two sons to fulfill their debt. So he asked her what she had in the house and she said only a pot of oil. He gave her clear instructions, go and borrow the vessels. He said, not just a few but many from your neighbors. Now let’s take pause at this juncture and remember, her faith is week and she is weak and grieved because her husband has recently died. Here it is, the man of God told her, to go and collect all of the vessels you can. So in her current state, she and her sons retrieved more vessels. Thereafter, because of her obedience the man of God performed a miracle right before her eyes. The oil was increased speedily. They poured and poured and poured and then ran out of vessels and there the oil stayed…That means the oil did not run out anymore. Let’s highlight three points here and now: remember, obedience, and faith is what ripened the miracle right before their eyes. God looks after His people, she was a widow and she pointed out her husband feared God. Then Elisha gave instruction, to go and retrieve many vessels. That part of the assignment was fulfilled swiftly by she and her sons. The three again excercised their faith, by going and getting the vessels and then watching the miracle unfold before their eyes. As the oil continuously stayed at the bottom of the vessel. Remember, she only had a pot of oil, so how did it increase? But God, I like His multiplication. Be mindful, there was a process that had to be followed. Sometimes the circumstances warrant Gods swift hand to react and then we see immediate results. Then other times the miracle unfolds in the waiting. There are also times when His is answer is no. We all must know that His no is sure to be a setup for something far greater. He has the view farther up the road, that we can’t see. Lastly, don’t get caught up in how God performs His signs and wonders. Most likely each time He will perform the miracle differently dependent upon who and what the cause is. He is so vast and without borders, why would we limit Him to perform a miracle, in the same manner everytime. Elisha could have closed his heart to her but he knew Gods instruction… So he too was obedient to take care of the widow woman. When he opened his heart to her, he opened his hands. That is how God has bequethed believers to move. We must always open our hands to those less fortunate. A closed heart is a closed fist, which closes the door to Gods movement.

 Soon every container was full to the brim! “Bring me another jar,” she said to one of her sons. “There aren’t any more!” he told her. And then the olive oil stopped flowing. 2 Kings 4:6 NLT

 Here is an exceptional and encouraging song, that fits like a glove to this story: Open Hands by Laura Story