Thus far, this passage on the Proverbs 31 woman has looked primarily at her home life. It’s talked about the different occupations she has at home and how she cares for her family and the others in her household. This verse takes more of an outward focus. While the Proverbs 31 woman prioritizes her care of her family and puts that above her care of others, she also takes an interest in the other people God brings into her life. Today we are going to look at Proverbs 31:20 and a few simple ways we can minister to others and be a blessing to them!
She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
1. Helping the Poor (Proverbs 31:20)
The Proverbs 31 woman was sensitive to the needs of the poor. She gave liberally from the bounty that God had given her. Not only did she give materially, but she gave of herself. It was her hand that was stretched out, offering assistance to those in need.
While the Proverbs 31 woman is just a list of characteristics and not an actual person, there was a lady in the Bible who modeled generosity.
Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.
We read in this chapter how Dorcas died, and the widows were present crying and showing the clothing that Dorcas had made for them. Peter raised Dorcas back to life and brought a happy ending to the story.
This story is something we should think about and take to heart. If you were to die today, what difference would it make to the people around you? In what way would you be a loss to the poor and needy around you? In what way would I? These are serious thoughts, but the good news is, we are still alive! Even if we haven’t been as faithful in the area of giving as we should have been, we can turn to God and seek His direction and strength for the future!
There are many ways that we can give to the poor. Your first thought may be of sending money to the poor in other countries. This is a good way to give. From clothing, to food, to Bibles, we are blessed to be able to send things to the needy around the world. But, don’t forget your own community and the people God has put near you! There may be a soup kitchen you could volunteer at or a shelter where you could donate food. People right around us have needs as well, and sometimes God uses the meeting of these physical needs as one step in the process of their spiritual needs being met.
2. Being a Friend in Need (Proverbs 31:20)
I believe that the Proverbs 31 woman cared about more than just the material needs of the people around here. She also cared about their spiritual and emotional needs! Being “poor” can come in many different forms. You can have plenty of money and still be poor and needy at heart.
There are many opportunities that we have to be friends with people who are in need. It can be as simple as sending a text or card to a friend who is having a hard time. Let them know that you care and are praying for them (and really pray for them). Share some words of Scripture with them. These are small yet very meaningful ways that you can minister to those in need.
Another thing that can be a blessing to people in need is taking them a meal. If someone is sick, a family has a new baby, or you just want to bless someone and let them know you are thinking about them, taking food is a great way to show that you care.
3. Meet Spiritual Needs (Proverbs 31:20)
There are people around you with spiritual needs. True, physically they may have plenty to eat, but they may be spiritually starving. One way that you can share God’s love with those around you is by passing out gospel tracts. This is a great way to help meet the spiritual needs of people that you pass. Whether you hand them to a clerk, leave one in a public place to be picked up, or find some other creative outlet, gospel tracts are a great way to reach out your hand to the needy -those who need Jesus.
People who are saved also have spiritual needs. You can share a word of encouragement or testimony with a friend or family member. Maybe you can challenge someone to join you in memorizing Scripture. Helping to hold each other accountable with Bible reading, prayer, Scripture memory, and other aspects of your relationship with Jesus is a way to minister and also receive help.
Helping out in your church can also be a blessing! In my small church, we have special music in the service. It is especially a blessing to the older people to hear others sing or play music. You don’t have to have any special talent to do this. Just sing joyfully as unto the Lord!
From giving food and clothing to the hungry and needy, to giving a hug to a friend who is hurting, to handing a gospel tract to a stranger, there are so many ways we can reach out our hands and hearts to the needy. When you simplify your life and learn to slow down and be aware of what is going on around you, this can open up opportunities for giving. If you don’t seem to have many opportunities, ask the Lord! He would be delighted to bring ministry opportunities into your life. Take time to extend your hand to someone today, showing them how much you care and mirroring the love of Jesus to them.
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- Give items such as food and clothing to meet people’s physical needs.
- Give things such as hugs, texts, cards, and words of encouragement to meet people’s emotional needs.
- Give Bible verses, Bibles, gospel tracts, and words of testimony to meet people’s spiritual needs.
What other ways can you think of for reaching out to those in need?
Until next time, share the love of Jesus and give of yourself!