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  • From the Cedar Street Times, Pacific Grove

What does God say about the poor?

Deut 15:11, “For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.” Why does God want us to know that the poor will always be with us? And, why will there always be poor people among us? Prov 14:31, “He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.” Could the answer be this simple; that there will always be people in this world willing to oppress the poor? Are these people selfish? Do selfish people care about those less fortunate? Do they know or love God?

How do some become oppressed while some find themselves in a position to oppress others? Eccl 9:11, “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” Does being what this world calls smart guarantee we will not be poor? Or, do chance and circumstances play a part in how things work out? Does the place we are born, the year we are born, the family we are born into and so many more events that we have no control over, contribute to the process that decides whether we will become poor? Of course, the choices we make in this life play a part in the process, mainly that of amplifying or minimizing, the chance and circumstances that occur. There are two main reasons God wants us to know this, so we will not be proud of our good fortune in this life and because He wants us to be generous to those who did not have the same good fortune. Is being poor is a punishment?

God tells us that the poor have some advantages when it comes to accepting God’s offer of eternity.

Here is a list of some of those advantages, given to us by Monika Hellwig:

  1. The poor know they are in urgent need of redemption.

  2. The poor know not only their dependence on God and on powerful people, but also their interdependence with one another.

  3. The poor rest their security not on things but on people.

  4. The poor have no exaggerated sense of their own importance, and no exaggerated need of privacy.

  5. The poor expect little from competition and much from cooperation.

  6. The poor can distinguish between necessities and luxuries.

  7. The poor can wait, because they have acquired a kind of dogged patience born of acknowledged dependence.

  8. The fears of the poor are more realistic and less exaggerated; because they already know that one can survive great suffering and want.

  9. When the poor have the Gospel preached to them, it sounds like good news and not like a threat or a scolding.

  10. The poor can respond to the call of the Gospel with a certain abandonment and uncomplicated totality because they have so little to lose and are ready for anything.

The rich have a harder time accepting God’s gift because many of them are too busy gathering wealth or pretending virtuousness; but the poor do not have the luxury of pretending. This is why Jesus told us, Matt 19:24, “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Does God want us to lay down our pride, to help our neighbor out of compassion and to understand that we truly are in need of His salvation? 1 Jn 3:17, “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?”

Prov 19:17, “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.” When we give to the poor, are we not giving what God has already given to us? Has God promised to give us more, if we willingly give to the poor? Should our attitude be one of gratitude, not pride? Are we not representing God to the poor of this world? Are we not shining a light into the lives of the rich, providing them an example? Not grudgingly, but out of love, 2 Cor 9:7, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”

Is this why Jesus told us about the blessing of giving? Acts 20:35, “I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Maybe, the poor are here to help the rich find their way to heaven?

Is this the real reason God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah? Eze 16:49, “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.”

Comments, opposing opinions and suggestions for future topics are all welcome at:

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