[Temple, Inner Court]George Herbert: "The Church-porch"

Day 33: Morning


Man is Gods image; but a poore man is

Christs stamp to boot: both images regard.

God reckons for him, counts the favour his:

Write, So much giv'n to God; thou shalt be heard.

   Let thy almes go before, and keep heav'ns gate

   Open for thee; or both may come too late.

     Man is God's image, but a poor man is Christ's stamp in addition. Honor both images. God reckons for him, counts the favor His. Write: “so much given to God;” you shall be heard. Let your alms go before and keep heaven's gate open for you. Or both [you and your charity] may come too late.

     Mankind is the spiritual likeness of God, but, in addition, a poor man is the resemblance of Christ. We contain the potential of wisdom and love that manifests God’s two-fold presence. The poor, in addition, remind us of the humanity and austerity of Jesus, the hardships of His life on earth and His human suffering. They recall Christ’s ministering and concern. Recognize and respect this double image. God weighs in the poor man's favor and counts any benefit done to the poor as good done to Him. Therefore, when you give alms to the poor, know this consideration establishes you as God’s servant. “If you have done it to the least of these...” Acts done for the poor reiterate the love Jesus had for the unfortunates around Him. Consider your behavior as you revere God’s image and Christ’s appearance. You may write it down on your balance sheet as money and time given to God who sees this favor done.

     Let your offerings to the poor go before you and keep heaven's gate open. If you do not, your kindness to the poor and your soul may come too late and find heaven's gate closed.

© 1997 J. R. Arner

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