Good thing you picked our 50 Favorite Proverbs, beloved. I would have chosen all the joyful verses, the upbeat ones, the encouraging bits. Happy, happy, happy.
But you wisely know we learn more intellectually—and grow faster spiritually—when our thinking is challenged and our actions are weighed.
Prepare to get unsettled, as we unpack a truth that delivers a solid punch.
Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed
than to share plunder with the proud. Proverbs 16:19
Better to be lowly in spirit…
This isn’t about embracing depression or lying down in the dirt. God is saying we are “better off” (CEV) if we “live humbly” (NLT).
So, should we get rid of all our stuff? That’s what Jesus encouraged the rich young ruler to do: “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven” (Mark 10:21).
No wonder “the man’s face fell” and “he went away sad” (Mark 10:22). His possessions defined him, and so they confined him.
I wish I didn’t get this, but I get this. With my words—both spoken and written—I affirm absolutely that our eternal life in heaven matters far more than our present life on earth. But sitting here in my renovated farmhouse, filled with a lifetime of memories, the thought of selling everything makes me…well, sad.
Yet when I look in the faces of those in need, they make me even sadder.
…along with the oppressed…
Jesus told his followers, “You will always have the poor among you” (John 12:8). Yes, Lord. We still do.
Global Issues reports that 22,000 children die every day due to poverty. Almost half the world—over three billion people—live on less than $2.50 a day. And nearly one billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names.
We are “living among the poor” (ERV), yet seldom see them. We are surrounded by the “needy” (CEB), yet do little to relieve “those who suffer” (EXB).
Maybe you’re already doing and giving in a big way, storing up your treasure in heaven. Well done, my friend. For the rest of us who need a Holy Spirit nudge to do more for others, I asked my (in)courage sisters how they help “those who are beaten down” (NIRV), how they reach out to “the afflicted” (NET).
They quickly offered this global list of a dozen great causes, meant to get us all thinking, giving, and doing in Jesus’ name:
Jessica Turner | World Vision
Aliza Latta | Hashtag Hope
Anna Rendell | International Justice Mission
Kristen Welch | Mercy House Kenya
Alia Joy | Kijabe Hospital
Robin Dance | Freeset Global
Ann Voskamp | Compassion International
Deidra Riggs | Why We Can’t Wait
Jennifer Dukes Lee | ViBella Jewelry
Mary Carver | Global Orphan Project
Liz Curtis Higgs | Salvation Army
Karina Allen | Trafficking Hope
If you clicked on some of the above and prayed for God’s leading, you’re on the right track. That Proverbs 31 woman we admire? She “opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy” (Proverbs 31:20). Clearly, God wants us to do the same: to be willing to have less, so others can have more.
But Father God, you know the truth. I love having more.
…than to share plunder with the proud.
Oh man. I never thought of shopping bags holding plunder, let alone “loot” (GNT) or “stolen goods” (GW). But the truth is, even if my budget allows, even if I pay cash instead of credit, by God’s measure, indulgent shopping is still plunder—“the dishonest acquisition of property”—if I’m clothing myself instead of someone who’s dressed in rags.
Sisters, I am in trouble. I believe many of us are.
It’s not just “arrogant people” (GW) who love acquiring stuff, not just the “rich and famous” (MSG). Lots of us engage in shopping therapy with friends. Lots of us spend far more than we give.
Though God’s Word cautions us, “Better poor and humble than proud and rich” (TLB), our culture teaches us the complete opposite: “Better proud and rich than poor and humble.”
He can help. And he will help.
By the power and conviction of the Holy Spirit, he can teach us to say no to that old way of thinking, and say yes to sharing our time, our money, our energy, our prayers, and our hearts with those in need.
What does that look like at the Higgs house?
When a favorite catalog arrives in my mailbox, I’m asking the Lord to help me toss it in the trash and write a check to a worthy cause instead. When a free Saturday appears on my schedule, I’m begging the Lord to show me a more charitable place to invest those hours than curled up on the couch watching Netflix. When it’s time to downsize, I’m asking God for the courage to buy small and give big.
I know, I know: these are baby steps, not huge leaps.
See, I just want to start. Not someday. Right now.
Remember I said my favorite verses are the joyful ones? I believe with all my heart, if we put this proverb into action, the joy of the Lord is a guarantee: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4).
Now it’s your turn
Kindly click Post a Comment below and respond to either one:
- If this devotion has convicted you to do more for those in need,
how do you plan to get started?
- If you are already doing and giving in a sacrificial way,
what has the Lord taught you in the process?
I know this subject cuts close to the bone for many of us. Trust the Spirit’s leading. He will always guide you in the right direction!
Your sister, Liz