She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. (Proverbs 31:20)
Pick up any magazine or newspaper and you’d likely find a story of some celebrity helping out others less fortunate. Whether it’s Oprah giving away– well, anything you can think of, or Brad Pitt helping rebuild New Orleans (is he still doing that?), or Michael J. Fox and his involvement in Parkinson’s research, the rich and famous are famous for sharing their riches. The thing is, after sharing (and sharing generously), they are still rich.
This verse speaks of actively helping out others. Not just offering, but finding ways to get the help to those who need it. Kind of like the difference between having a food bank, or going and dropping off boxes on someone’s doorstep. As Christians, we are to help others. Scripture mandates it. We are to share with other Christians, opening our homes and resources to those who have need. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any [of them] that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. (Acts 4:32) and As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all [men], especially unto them who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10). We are to be a Light, a Beacon, to a weary and lost world, and meeting needs can speak volumes to a hungry soul. We are not saved by our good works, but we are known by our love. James 2 explains how faith without works is dead, and Ephesians 2 tells us why works alone cannot save: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8,9)
It’s good for those who have to share with those who have not. But the Bible tells us it’s a special thing for one who has not to share with those who have even less. Luke 21:2-4 describes a poor woman giving all. 1 Kings 17 tells of a poor woman in desperate times, who was called on to share what little she had with the prophet Elijah and was blessed because of it.
Our Proverbs 31 Woman actively sought to help and bless others. We’ve seen already that she was an incredibly busy woman, but that didn’t stop her from reaching out. May we not use the excuse that we are too busy when we see a need. May we not use the excuse that we’ll be left wanting if we give to someone with less. The “Proverbs 32” woman is too busy, too poor, too self-absorbed. Lord, help me to not be her.