Poor Vision - Dorothy Day - The One Year Women in Christian History Devotional

Poor Vision - Dorothy Day


It seems hard to imagine, but Dorothy Day, the cofounder of the Catholic Worker newspaper and a national movement that served the poor in the 1930s, would sometimes be given a hard time about her work.

What possible justification could people have for objecting to meeting the needs of those in poverty? Ironically, some used the Bible as “proof” that Dorothy didn’t need to help the poor. “Jesus said that the poor will always be with you,” they’d say. They took the attitude that if having a poor population was inevitable, what point was there in trying to do anything about it?

Dorothy’s response to her detractors didn’t deny what Jesus said, but she knew Jesus didn’t advocate throwing in the towel when it came to the poor. “We are not content that there should be so many of them,” she said. “The class structure is our making and by our consent, not God’s, and we must do what we can to change it. We are urging revolutionary change.”

Have you ever come up against someone who uses an out-of-context verse or two from the Bible to try to prove that you’re doing something wrong? What’s the best way to handle that? Pull out your Bible. Find the verses that are being used to try to sway you. Read the whole story, the entire chapter, or even the entire book—and put those verses in their context.

If you read the entire story surrounding Jesus’ words about the poor, simply finishing Jesus’ sentence would convince you that Jesus wasn’t saying it was pointless to help the poor. In fact, in Mark 14:7, Jesus says, “You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to” (emphasis added). In Mark 14:1-11, Jesus was saying that his time on earth was short, so it was important to pay attention to him for the moment. When he was gone, the poor would still be there to take care of.

Bible verses taken out of context can convince anyone of almost anything. Always go back to the source to determine the truth.

The godly care about the rights of the poor; the wicked don’t care at all.

Proverbs 29:7

From the Book:

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The One Year Women in Christian History Devotional
By Randy Petersen and Robin Shreeves

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