Lending to the Poor
By Mike Stickler
Proverbs 28:8 Whoever increases wealth by taking interest or profit from the poor amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor.
I live in a state that is full of pawnshops, payday loan brokers, and title loan shops. Unfortunately, they seem to be popping up around the country as well. Even more so with the tougher times we’ve had with the economy.
These shops are designed to secure small loans to people who are in desperate need of cash – at an extremely high rate of interest (sometimes as high as 400% APR). Often these folks barely make it from paycheck to paycheck and when an unforeseen need emerges and they’re stuck for available finances, they find themselves at these unscrupulous locations, making a bad situation worse. In some cases, it’s so bad that these check cashing outfits will have these desperate people incarcerated if they can’t pay the loan back, including the extremely high interest rate. In my mind it’s just legalized loan sharking.
If you’re observant, most of these types of shops are clustered in poor neighborhoods, further worsening the community’s economic problems.
Today’s verse is a powerful statement about the providence of God at work in a fallen, lost, and dying world. It observes that even with the selfish, immoral, and sinful (though, barely legal) activities of those who attempt to exploit and extract wealth from the poor (even as abetted as they may be by the ungodly and/or misguided structures that allow and even support these activities), He will not let that wealth remain with the hands of the profiteer for long. He will remove it from them and return it to the poor despite their selfish and sinful actions.
Sometimes His work is done through His peoples’ purposive hands. For example ‒
Finding themselves in a commerce environment similar to mine, one group of churches in the poor areas of Dallas, TX, has fought back.
They have been working with local government officials to restrict the zoning and licensing of these types of entities. More importantly, they have used their considerable influence and resources to open up direct, healthy competition by offering business and other micro-loans, debt reduction programs, and education and classes in money management. All these services are offered at reasonable rates and, in some cases, free of charge.
Why? Because they see their community is being used by these other organizations and that one very practical way to help a poor community is to help change the culture there.
This is a generosity ministry to the community ‒ blessing the poor in very practical ways while also blessing those involved in this ministry in very spiritual ways.
If you ask me, it’s just one of the ways God’s people are kind to the poor. And, it’s just one of the ways God’s sovereignty and providence works all things to good for His purposes.
Today’s Generosity Challenge:
What do you see in your community that actually aggravates or preys upon a difficult situation?
How can you use ‘the system’ for God’s purpose (i.e., doing good / restraining evil) rather than letting others exploit ‘the system’ for selfish gain?
How can you, your church, or your business step up to help resolve the situation and truly make a difference? Write your thoughts and ideas down below.
About Michael Stickler
Michael Stickler is a highly gifted author, philanthropist, horseman and internationally sought-after conference speaker. His all-time bestselling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the Principal of Leadership Books and writes for many international publications.
His 2017 best seller, Cliven Bundy American Patriot, reveals the truth of what is known as the “Bunkerville Stand Off.”
And, now his 2019 book Life Without Reservation, is charging up the best sellers list! For the first time in his long career he is working on his first fiction book Ghost Patriot to be release in 2021.