By: Maggie Leonard
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
Reflection—v. 3, ‘…whenever you give alms…’
Biblical law did a wonderful job of delineating social structures designed to prevent poverty, such as debt forgiveness and fair treatment of workers. Not unlike our own society, however, there remained a wide divide between the rich and common workers. If you have ever received charity from another, you are probably aware of how difficult it is. It is hard to admit, ‘I cannot do it’ or ‘we do not have enough,’ especially in a culture where we proclaim that everyone has the opportunity to move up in the world if only we work hard enough. To add insult to injury, it is all the more difficult to receive a gift with cameras turned on us. We video pledges with public challenges for others to follow suit and take photos of donation drop-offs to post online and adorn newsletters. We want to show all the good we do. We want to be able to measure it. We want to prove what is in our hearts. But we remain blind to the shame the person on the other end feels, believing they should just be grateful for our generosity.
Prayer Jesus, help us to show mercy as those who know we need mercy.