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The poor will always be with you

Did you ever wonder why Jesus said that we’ll always have the poor with us?   He might have had any of a number of things in mind. For example, perhaps he means poverty will never go away.   But more specifically it may be that we’ll never not have poor people because poverty…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Did you ever wonder why Jesus said that we’ll always have the poor with us?
 
He might have had any of a number of things in mind. For example, perhaps he means poverty will never go away.
 
But more specifically it may be that we’ll never not have poor people because poverty is relative. Poverty in some countries is $1/day income. Whereas in America the poverty level is $22,350 for a family of four.
 
Or he might have meant that we need the poor, and therefore, we should have them with us. We should invite them into our lives. The poor help us in a number of ways to live a richer life. Their need may, for example, force them to reach out and form community.
 
Often poor people don’t really know they’re poor.  Steve Saint says:
From my life experiences with the Waodani-and other people groups in Africa, Asia and South America who live simply and materially contentedly-I have learned that it is unreasonable to evaluate their “lack” based on our distorted and exaggerated perception of need. When we try to meet phantom needs of people who live at a lower material standard than we have learned to consider “minimal,” we not only fall into a trap that keeps us from seeing their real needs but we also tempt them into a snare that can raise their perception of need beyond what their economy can support.
 
When we project poverty on people where it doesn’t exist, we also overlook the actual poverty with which they struggle.
Solomon said, “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.” (Ecc 5:10).
 
Being satisfied with your income can be a trick. Envy seems bound up in our hearts. Look at the Occupy movement. A lot of what’s being expressed is envy. 
 
When I was 24 I made a great deal of money speculating in the stock market. But when my fortunes fell, I found myself numb with anxiety. God spoke to me in that moment through this passage in 1 Timothy 6:6-10.
Godliness with contentment is great gain. 
 
We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
 
Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into
many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and
destruction. 
 
The
love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.
 
Some people, eager for
money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many
griefs.
I don’t know about you, but I work at simplicity. I work at contentment. People stuck in cycles of envy and money worries need to set themselves free. You may already be far richer than you realize.

Comments (4)

  • If your riches elicit a tinge of guilt because you met a poor person, you are the poorer in more ways than you know.

  • That’s a very deep comment Uche! Like it.

    Newspapers over here in England are reporting that we are on the brink of another global recession. Maybe we are, maybe we aren’t. I just realised last night that if my husband dies before me but after he has started drawing his retirement pension, I will have an income of zero as I don’t have a pension at all and would lose his.

    I thought at that moment of that verse in the Psalms that reads “I have never seen the righteous go hungry or their children begging for bread.” If it comes to it and we haven’t found another way around it by then, I will just have to trust God to care for what I need. I’ve done it before.

    Poverty is only really an issue if you own anything because the fear of losing it becomes a strong thing. You’re right Seth – godliness with contentment is great gain. But I rather think it is not a one off thing but an attitude that needs continually checking on because, left to its own devices, it will wander off and become fearful or discontented again like a shot.

    Good post, very helpful – thanks!

Comments are closed.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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