Poverty in the Bible

Poverty has always been an unfortunate part of any society. Jesus said, “For you have the poor with you always…​” (Matthew 26:11). The words of our Lord still ring true today, even for some living in the “richest” nation of the world. God has always had compassion for the poor, and included mercy and benevolence in the ancient law of His people. The Law of Moses states, “For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, 'You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.'” (Deuteronomy 15:11).

Fast forward some 1400 years, and we see Jesus continuing to teach that care of the poor is a vital part of serving the Lord and can have everlasting effects. After asking how to have eternal life, the rich young ruler, who had followed God’s law to the letter, was told to “Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” (Mark 10:21)

Jesus proclaimed Himself to be poor when he told the scribe, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” (Matthew 8:20). It’s inferred that Jesus never owned a house, property, or even an animal to ride on. As followers of Christ, we MUST be sympathetic to the poor and less fortunate, making every effort to “do good to all” at every opportunity. (Galatians 6:10) Benevolence can be challenging in our modern world, but with godly wisdom, it can be accomplished. Also, we must never forget that we can offer the hope of the gospel, something that all the money in the world can never buy!

Jay Launius
Maud church of Christ
Maud, Texas