The Power to Act

Scripture: Proverbs 3:27, ‘Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.’


Observations: This proverb defines our responsibility towards others in our community. Firstly, people ‘deserve’ our help, not necessarily because they are good people, but just because they are people made in the image of God. The next verse describes these people as our ‘neighbours,’ which Jews preferred to think of as fellow Jews. However, when asked ‘who is my neighbour?’ Jesus responded by included the hated Samaritans, by which he meant everyone (Lk 10:29-37). Secondly, what is this ‘good’ that we aren’t to withhold? It’s not specified because it can be anything, money, food, clothing, expertise, physical aid (as in the case of the Good Samaritan). Thirdly, if we are able to help then we ought to. This proverb isn’t suggesting that we should give what we don’t have, but if we do have it we ought to give it. We have a responsibility to our love and care for others in practical ways.


Application: Do you withhold from others? How often to do you see a need and decide not to act? Of course the needs in this world are overwhelming, we could pauper ourselves instantly if we wanted to, but often we use that as an excuse not to give to the immediate needs we see around us. Often we say we can’t afford it, when we sit in absolute luxury, our houses filled to bursting with things we don’t use and don’t need. And often we label people in order to justify not helping them i.e. they don’t deserve it, and yet we daily enjoy the blessings of God that we don’t deserve. Maybe today if you see a need don’t withhold good if it’s in your power to act.


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, you didn’t withhold Your good even though I didn’t deserve it. Lord, You saved me even though I deserved Your condemnation and judgment. Lord, help me to be like You, extravagant in my generosity towards others. Open my eyes to the needs of others. Open my eyes to opportunities to show others the depths of Your love. Lord, if it is in my power to act may I do so without hesitation. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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