Provocative Devotion: Psalm 41:1-3 “What Goes Around, Comes Around”

The Bible says that you reap what you sow. Put another way, what goes around comes around. In other words, your actions have consequences and if your actions are good and helpful and just, then eventually goodness, help, and justice will come your way. If your actions are cruel and deceitful and wicked, then eventually cruelty, deceit, and wickedness will come your way. In the first few verses of Psalm 40 we see the same principle at work. In this case it is good things coming from the Lord to the one who considers the poor.

Blessed is the one who considers the poor!
    In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him;
the Lord protects him and keeps him alive;
    he is called blessed in the land;
    you do not give him up to the will of his enemies.
The Lord sustains him on his sickbed;
    in his illness you restore him to full health

The specific topic is how one treats the poor. It is interesting to note that the author does not give a specific program or plan of action that pleases God. He simply says, “Blessed is the one who considers the poor”. In other words, blessed is that one who even gives a thought to the situation of the poor, and by implication does something about it. Most if the time we don’t consider the poor. We flip right passed the commercial with hungry children in it. We avert our gaze from the homeless guy at the street corner with a cardboard sign. We do all we can to keep from considering them and especially from having any human connection. Why do we not consider them? I suspect it is because if one really considered the plight of the poor then one would be compelled to do something about it. It is the person who does not really ponder their plight who does nothing. If you consider the poor you are forced to deal with the fact that they are real people and that often their reason for being poor has nothing to do with laziness or trying to scam the system.

The Bible has ways of dealing with laziness and scam artists. But more far more often than warning us about such folks it commands us to consider the needs of the poor and do something about their situation. One’s political affiliation should have no bearing on if you consider the poor and do something about it. It should only have bearing on the what. You may think the answer is to provide more in the way of food and medical assistance. Then again you may have huge philosophical reasons to oppose that, saying people need to work. That’s fine. Then maybe you should be supportive of job training programs and daycare for single moms so they can go to work. There is no political ideology that wants people to remain poor. So there is no political reason for not considering the poor and finding something you can do about it, no matter who small the gesture seems.

The point I am making is not to promote any particular political or social agenda. Rather the point is to highlight a biblical teaching that jumps off countless pages of the BIble. Followers of Christ are to consider the poor and in their considering, find some way to make their plight less dire. It can be a small thing that helps one person or a massive program that helps many. But you will never do any of that if you do not first consider them. Look into their eyes and consider them. Look into their lives and consider them. Look at their children and consider them. As you consider them, put yourself in their place. Consider what it would be like if you were the one uncertain of your next meal, or living out of a large garbage bag and a grocery cart. What would it be like if you were the single parent with three kids who had been abandoned by a spouse and left with nothing? Consider those things. And then, simply do what the Lord puts on your heart. It is that easy and that hard all at once.

2 thoughts on “Provocative Devotion: Psalm 41:1-3 “What Goes Around, Comes Around”

  1. luke

    Poor teens also fall into this category; then find themselves turned into addicts involved in sex trafficking in order to survive. But I don’t think we consider this as we see teens holding signs, asking for money. Surely this crosses all political affiliations.

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