Thoughtful and Self-Sacrificing

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She opens her hands to the poor,

and reaches out her hands to the needy.”

Proverbs 31:20

Thoughtful and self-sacrificing.  This lady does not just focus on herself or her family, but finds ways to minister to those in need.  This takes observation on her part and a willingness to sacrifice her wants and desires for those who have nothing to give in return.

Thoughtful and self-sacrificing.  This lady uses her hands often.  In Proverbs 31:10-31 the word hands is used seven times and appears twice.  These hands are not idle, nor are they busy doing meaningless tasks.  They are open which means to disperse or scatter, and they reach which means to send away.  The picture of these hands is one of giving and openness without any thought of return or keeping selfishly for herself.

Thoughtful and self-sacrificing.  The poor and needy are two different groups of people.  The poor are those that are afflicted by their circumstances.  They have had difficult blows in the area of their finances, such as loss of job, unforeseen medical bills, or major car repairs.  These are things that happen in our lives but are difficult to plan for.  These poor are trying to make wise choices but the unforeseen has them struggling to provide for the daily needs of their families.  These people are not making unwise choices by spending money on frivolous things like vacations they cannot afford, eating out, or getting their nails done.

Thoughtful and self-sacrificing.  The needy are those that also have difficult circumstances but these circumstances are ones that are emotionally troubling.  The above physical difficulties of life are also emotionally challenging as we get bogged down with daily living.  Other emotional struggles can be related to difficult relationships with others that can tear at our heart strings.  This wise lady goes out of her way to be a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, and a heart to sympathize and provide compassion.  It takes someone special who is attentive to the needs of others and knows when to speak and when to sit quietly by and listen.  Sometimes the difficult words must be said, but before she opens her mouth she prayerfully considers the words she will say.

Thoughtful and self-sacrificing.  We must be willing to get dirty when we are involved in the lives of others.  Their burdens become ours to share thus lightening the load for the poor and needy.  We must be discerning and wise as we get involved in other’s lives.  Unfortunately, there are people who have no intention of healing themselves, but rather have a taker mindset.  “Whoever is slack in his work, is a brother to him who destroys.” (Proverbs 18:9).

Thoughtful and self-sacrificing.  We must be aware of the people and the needs around us.  We never know when God will provide a Good Samaritan experience (Luke 10:25-37).  As we look for opportunities of service, we must make sure there are margins in our lives to allow for gracious service.  As we listen to God and look for ways to serve, He will provide these opportunities and the blessings we receive will far outweigh the blessings we give.

Questions:

  1. Find the seven places the word hands is used in Proverbs 31:10-31 and record these uses.
  1. How are these seven different uses applicable to your life?
  1. Read the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. As you read it think about opportunities that you have had in your life where you have stopped and helped those in need.
  1. Now think back over the times that you did not stop to help. What prevented you from helping?
  1. Read Luke 8:40-48. Did Jesus appear to have gone out of His way to heal this woman?
  1. As we struggle with balance, we must remember that Jesus, while on earth, did not heal everyone. Taking this thought and the story of the Good Samaritan into account how should we balance our ministry to the poor and needy?
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