January 20, 2023
“If your brother becomes destitute and cannot sustain himself among you, you are to support him as a foreigner or temporary resident, so that he can continue to live...”
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“If your brother becomes destitute and cannot sustain himself among you, you are to support him as a foreigner or temporary resident, so that he can continue to live among you. Don’t profit or take interest from him, but fear your God and let your brother live among you. You are not to lend him your silver with interest or sell him your food for profit. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.” Leviticus 25:35-38
Interdependence: 1) Unable to exist or survive without each other 2) Relying on mutual assistance, support, cooperation, or interaction among constituent elements or members
Much of our modern culture has been built on the idea of “independence.” In American society, people who are “dependent” are generally frowned upon as weak. Children are taught to be independent, not needing anything from anyone. Growing up, I was taught that taking a handout or charitable assistance was shameful.
Interestingly, I was also taught that if a person was needy, they were probably lazy. There was a stigma of sin attached to poverty. We were led to believe that if we gave someone charity, we were perhaps enabling them to continue in their laziness. We were taught that people should work hard, and money was our reward for keeping for ourselves.
That’s the theory I was taught. Then, one day I needed charity...
I’ve searched the Scriptures, and someone corrects me if I’m wrong, but I have yet to find an instance where God honors independence.
God’s design for society is that men would completely depend on Him. He designed for His “dependants” to live interdependently among each other in community. The purpose of community is to make our weaknesses ineffective. When someone covers your weakness, it frees you to operate in the strengths God has endowed you with.
Nobody is an island, self-sustaining and all-comprehensive unto themselves. Hard times will fall on everyone. God doesn’t just provide spiritual (internal) peace; He also offers physical and emotional comfort through the community of believers. He primarily provides for His people through the generosity of other people.
Lesson: Don’t be too ashamed to receive charity, and don’t be too self-absorbed to withhold it from others in need. As in everything, our rule should be: As the Lord leads.