Derek's challenge to us today is to practice what is preached in God's Word. When we have pity and give to the poor, we are actually lending to the Lord and He will repay. The book of Proverbs is filled with verses concerning care for the poor and how much God wants us to remember them.
James chapter 1 verse 27. Now this is a summary of New Testament teaching. It says,
“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit [care for] orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
You know being an old time Pentecostal I’ve heard many, many sermons about not being like the world—preached against worldliness and all sorts of things that were classified as worldliness. I’ve never heard a sermon on our responsibility for orphans and widows. Never. I’ve heard some well-known preachers in my day. And James says, This is pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father.
Now there is a negative side to it—keep oneself unspotted from the world. But the positive takes precedence—to care for the orphans and widows. Are you practicing that kind of religion? If not, who gave you exemption? Who exempted you? Who decided that you were not included in this? It didn’t apply to you. I’ll tell you one thing. It applies to me. And I’ll tell you a little bit about my own experience before we finish.
Now let’s look at a few general statements, mainly from the Book of Proverbs. Proverbs 19 verse 17.
“He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, And the LORD will pay him back what he has given.”
So when you give to the poor you’re lending to the Lord. And I’ll tell you one thing, the Lord always pays back. He never remains indebted. How much have you given? I know you don’t have to answer me, but stop and ask yourself. You pay your tithe. That’s wonderful, that’s only the beginning. That’s only the beginning. It’s a very important beginning but it’s not all.
And I’m really happy to think what I’ve given to the poor and I’m not claiming to be a great giver, but I’m glad to know that the Lord is going to pay me back. I trust Him. I’ve lent to people who didn’t pay me back. If you’ve had the same experience, but the one person who will pay you back is the Lord. Let me tell you one thing. Never lend to members of your family. Just give it.
Proverbs 31 verse 20. This is the excellent wife, the model mother and wife. And it says this in chapter 31 verse 20.
“She extends her hands to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.”
Dear married lady, is that true of you? Why not? Does it apply? You have to answer, I don’t. Then there are two warnings. Proverbs 21:13.
“Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard.”
Is that reason why some of our prayers are not answered, because we haven’t heard the cry of the poor? If we don’t hear the cry of the poor, God will not hear our cry. It’s very clear. In Proverbs 28:27.
“He who gives to the poor will not lack, But he who hides his eyes will have many curses.”
Those of you that are any way familiar with the Middle East, that’s certainly true, because when a beggar stretches out his hand and you give him nothing he’ll follow you all down the street with his curses. For sure. And I mean those curses have some power. They’re not just words.
Well, my first wife who lived amongst the people of Jerusalem, mainly speaking Arabic, she said she went into a shop in the Old City and the man wanted to sell her something and she said it was too expensive. She wouldn’t buy it. She said as she walked out down the street she stumbled and almost fell. She realized the shopkeeper had put a curse on her. Believe me, dear brothers and sisters, don’t venture in the Middle East if you don’t understand the power of blessings and curses because they’re very powerful.
Amos chapter 6, verse 3 and if you read the prophet Amos his main theme was injustice and selfishness. And for that a whole nation was banished from the presence of God. All right, Amos chapter 6 beginning verse 3.
“Woe to you who put off the day of judgment, Who cause the seat of violence to grow near; Who lie on beds of ivory, Stretch out on your couches, Eat lambs from the flock And calves from the midst of the stall; Who chant at the sound of stringed instruments, And invent for yourselves musical instruments like David; Who drink wine from bowls, [now most of you don’t do that] And anoint yourselves with the chief ointments, But are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.”
Now isn’t that a Charismatic meeting? We have a good time. We have a lot of music. We’ll eat and we’ll be really happy. But we will not be concerned about the people who don’t have anything. Is that true? It’s not true of all but it’s true of many. Now I don’t say that to condemn you, but I say it because I think if you really want the blessing of the Lord on yourself and on this nation you’re going to have to do something about it.
You might say, “Brother Prince, you’ve preached a lot. What have you done?” So I’m going to tell you and I want to say I take no credit for this whatever. I didn’t do it because I was good or righteous, I did it because the Lord showed me to do it. But I was born in India of a British family, an only child, educated at Eton and Cambridge. I had, as they say, a silver spoon in my mouth. And then I went into the British Army reluctantly, and I ended up in the Middle East. And I met a Danish lady, much older than I was, who had started a little children’s home. And I fell in love with her and I felt that God wanted me to marry her and God also told Lydia He did want me to marry her. So when I married her, the same day I got a wife I got eight daughters. Remember, an only child. I never had any sisters. Didn’t know much about women. Well six of them were Jewish, one was Arab, one was English.
I think I’ll talk about them for a little while. I’ll start with the youngest. I’ve got three of them here in the front row tonight. So this is an illustrated sermon, you understand. My youngest, English, married to a Goan, if you know what a Goan is. A Goan is a man from Goa. If you don’t know where Goa is you need a lesson in geography. Anyhow, she has two children—a son and a daughter. So that gives me two grandchildren.
Then my Arab daughter, married to an Englishman—a very English Englishman—she has three children and one grandchild. So that gives me three grandchildren and one [great] grandchild.
But now wait for the punch. One of my Jewish daughters married a widower who’s right beside her right now, a minister of the gospel. He already had six children by his first wife who passed away, and she had five more. So that gives me eleven grandchildren. Magdal how many grandchildren do you have? Twenty-eight. So you realize I’ve got twenty-eight great-grandchildren. And that’s not the end by any means. We can go two generations further.
So I am not without experience. You say well what did you do? Well I really can’t take the credit for it. First of all I fell in love, and then I fell in love with the family. Out of that family, which started with one little desperately sick Jewish baby in 1928, there is a family that now has more than one hundred and fifty members. And we’re distributed around the world from Israel to Britain to Canada to the United States to Australia. But marvel of all marvels, we really are one family. Every one of us would agree. We have never been divided. We’ve never split up.