“If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren … thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother. But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him … Thou shalt surely give him … because for this thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee … Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to the poor, and to the needy in the land. … And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty” (DEU 15:7-13).
“Neither was there any among them that lacked … “(ACTS 4:34).
“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” (1 JN 3:17).
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless, and the WIDOWS IN THEIR AFFLICTION…” (JS 1:27)
Whether it was God’s Old Testament people (Israel) or His New Testament people (the church), God desired and demanded that they have a heart for their brothers and sisters in need, the poor in the land, and the needy in the land. This principle is found throughout the scriptures and cannot be refuted!
God’s desire for His people is that we would be a caring and compassionate people!
While the apostles recognized that their primary responsibility was to give themselves “to prayer, and to the ministry of the word,” this did not keep them from being sure that the widows among them were not being “neglected” (ACTS 6:1-4). I suppose Acts 4:32-35 could be likened to a New Testament parallel to Deuteronomy 15:7-13.
Over the years, we have strayed from the compassionate spirit of the early church!
“Thy benevolence shall be in proportion to his distress and poverty, and thy ability. Thou shalt have no other rule to regulate thy charity by.” -Adam Clarke’s commentary on Deuteronomy 15:7-13