Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Life Lessons | Proverbs 31: 20

"She extends her hand to the poor; And she stretches out her hands to the needy." It is interesting how typing out a verse will open your eyes to little things that one never noticed before! As I thought about this verse, I was originaly going to write how blessed we are as a nation that regardless of what our financial situation is, we need to always be a blessing to others. But then I noticed the word "hand" in the verse. Once it is singular and once it is plural.

"She extends her hand to the poor..." If we think of using one hand in a physical sense, it is usually because what we are lifting or holding doesn't require a great amount of strength. When I hold Addie or Ian on my hip, I usually use one arm (my other can then be used to do something else). In a sense, when the Proverbs 31 woman extends her hand to the poor, she is helping someone who is in worse shape than she is, but she recognizes that their situation is not hopelss- doesn't require a great amount. She is extending the kindness needed in order for them to get back on their feet to make it on their own.

"...And she stretches out her hands to the needy." When we have a difficult or more complicated job, we tend to use both hands- cooking, cleaning, folding laundry, etc. I would never attempt to pick Addie or Ian up off the floor with only one hand- we could both be hurt. That action requires the use of both hands- for their safety and my health). In the same sense, those who are needy need both of our hands. Their plight is far too complicated for one hand to fix. These are the ones who are truly destitute, who, through no fault of their own, are in circumstances beyond their control and alone they cannot get out of their situation.

Also notice the difference in verbs. Extends and stretches. The word extend can mean to offer. She offers her help to the poor. Stretching implies a greater amount of movement and effort. She recognizes the amount of effort required to help the needy and stretches to help.

In our quest to be like the Proverbs 31 woman, we first need to recognize the difference between the poor and the needy. Then we need to reach out with one or two hands to do our part in helping our fellow man. There are many ways to help those in need at every level. If you are involved in your local church, there are always ways to reach out and help. Our church offers many ways for us to be of help to others. Pray, and then do what God lays on your heart. You will be glad you did.

Memorize Proverbs 31:20


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