In this article we take time to explain, and give you answers on what does the Bible say about the poor and needy. This is because most of us see poverty in some form around us. This is either a distant problem or a personal reality. How should we as believers respond to the poverty we face? And how does the Bible speak of it?
What does the Bible say about the poor and needy explained
One thing that we need to keep in mind is that the poor will always be around, that is according to the New Testament book of Matthew 26:11 which says: “You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me. “ Therefore, the poor will be around until the time Jesus Christ shall come back to take his own to heaven. This is when equality is the order of the day – no one will have more or less than the other such that there will be no classification as “rich” or “poor”. But until then, we all have a duty to take good care of the poor.
A poor person is someone who does not have enough money to meet the standards considered comfortable or normal in society. There are many reasons why a person becomes poor. Sometimes poverty is the result of foolish decisions. The book of Proverbs 6:10-11 says: “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the arms to rest, and your poverty will come like a robber, your need, like a bandit” and sometimes it is not human fault as indicated by John 9:3 which says: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” Jesus answered. “[This came about] so that God’s works might be displayed in him.” However, the latter scripture does not imply that God destines people but rather, he allows certain unfortunate circumstances to make himself known.
Nevertheless, poverty does not take away humanity from the person experiencing it because regardless of one’s socioeconomic status, the image of God is still borne in them therefore, we need to be kind to them as the Bible in Proverbs 14:31 says: “The one who oppresses the poor insults their Maker, but one who is kind to the needy honors Him.
God’s requirement of you
Throughout the Scriptures, God reveals His heart to the poor. We see God’s concern for the poor when He speaks to them about injustice. Think of the prophets, Amos and Micah. Although the two end up discussing issues of Israel’s heart, in the process, they turn to God’s concern for the poor, God’s judgment on those who abuse the poor, and the realities of systemic injustice and the cycle of poverty.
In view of God’s care for the poor among us, how should we deal with them? We should begin by remembering Micah’s words: “Brethren, he has told each one of you what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: to practice righteousness, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly before your God. (Micah 6, 8). This should guide us as we seek to care for the poor as God does. Jesus perfectly exemplified God’s heart and did not neglect the poor or their needs. In fact, he cares for the poor and often talks about how we should treat them.
Also, in his letter to the Ephesians, Paul told the church that we must work so that we have sufficient resources to give to those in need (Ephesians 4:28). This call repeats throughout Scripture. And when we give, it’s a matter of the attitude of our heart. We must give generously and without resisting the heart (Deuteronomy 15:10). We should not be manipulated into giving and we should not be willing to give. God wants us to give with joy (2 Corinthians 9:7). The Christian’s call to give to those in need is not a checklist filled in to please God. This is an opportunity to reflect on God’s overflowing love for our neighbors.
When we use the voices and opportunities God has given us to seek justice for the poor and help them find food and shelter, we may be surprised at how the poor can teach us and help us grow. We have neighbors who understand what it is like to have no shelter. Or those who cling to Jesus day after day because they know they have no eternal hope of a salary or a house (Luke 9:58). If we seek to truly love our neighbors, we must learn all we can from them. We do this by observing how God shapes our hearts through their example.
As Christians, we must decide to love the truly poor among us while striving to serve them. It’s easy to donate unwanted clothes or serve a bowl of soup. However, loving the homeless around the corner is much more difficult. Relationships are necessary – no matter how messy and uncomfortable they are. This means asking for and listening to one another’s needs, rather than assuming that we know what they need. This means empowering individuals to be independent rather than making them dependent on us for others. It is difficult to truly love, but through the power of the Spirit of God we can truly love our neighbor as ourselves.
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