Generosity is an important Jewish value.
The Torah states “If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs.” Deuteronomy 15:7-8 Yeshua also said, “Give, and it will be given to you. You will have more than enough. It can be pushed down and shaken together and it will still run over as it is given to you. The way you give to others is the way you will receive in return.” Luke 6:38. Generosity is promoted by many Jewish writings and it is something everyone should value. A non-Jewish woman served the Jewish prophet Elijah and was highly blessed because of it.
“So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, ‘Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink.’ And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, ‘Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.’ So she said, ‘As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.’ And Elijah said to her, ‘Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord God of Israel: “The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.”’ So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days.” 1 Kings 17:11-15
It is very easy for us as society to get so caught up in our own needs-which are valid concerns-that we overlook the needs of others. It would be extremely easy to say because I lack something important my needs should come first and then if there is anything left over I might consider helping you but widow that met Elijah didn’t make that mistake. While we shouldn’t be reckless with the things God has blessed us with and of course should seek to stay alive, but remember it is never reckless to put serving the Lord first however risky it might seem. The wise Jewish King Solomon said, “He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what he has given.” Proverbs 19:17.
When we trust God in obedience and care for the needs of others we can trust God to care for our own just as God did for the widow because she trusted God. But sometimes we are not hesitant to share because of our own needs might not be met but because of our own wants. We would rather enjoy some unnecessarily thing than to help others meet their needs even after ours have already been met instead of thinking of what we would like someone to do for us if we were in their place. Don’t left selfishness rob you of God’s blessings and remember to share what God has given you by giving to others as King Solomon said, “He who gives to the poor will not lack, but he who hides his eyes will have many curses.” Proverbs 28:27
Picture originally found here