What is my responsibility to the poor? - Poverty - TouchPoints

What is my responsibility to the poor?

Leviticus 25:39“If one of your fellow Israelites falls into poverty and is forced to sell himself to you, do not treat him as a slave.”

Proverbs 19:17If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord—and he will repay you!

Proverbs 22:9Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor.

Isaiah 58:10Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.

Jeremiah 22:16He gave justice and help to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him. Isn’t that what it means to know me?” says the Lord.

Matthew 7:12“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.”

James 2:2-4For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?

God has compassion for the poor, so if we would be godly, we must have compassion for the poor. Compassion that does not affect our checkbooks or get onto our to-do list is philosophical passion, not godly passion. Helping the poor is not merely an obligation; it’s a privilege that should bring us great joy.

Leviticus 19:9-10When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. . . . Leave them for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the LORD your God.

Throughout the Bible God watches out for the poor and urges us to do the same. In these verses he instructs farmers to leave some grain and fruit in their fields after harvest so the poor can find food. This law probably saved the lives of Ruth and Naomi (read Ruth 2:1-3). What can you leave for the poor from your abundance? It is everyone’s responsibility to care for the less fortunate. It is a practical and essential way to demonstrate your faith in everyday life.

Luke 16:22-23“Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to sit beside Abraham at the heavenly banquet. The rich man also died and was buried, and he went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.”

In New Testament times, the Pharisees taught that wealth was proof of God’s favor and a sign of a person’s righteousness. Jesus surprised them with this story of a beggar who was blessed in the next life while the rich man was punished. Through faith in Jesus, those who suffer in this lifetime will experience the full grace of God and vindication in heaven. This is part of our ultimate redemption, but it will not happen apart from faith in Jesus. This fact of heavenly vindication does not excuse any of us from caring for needs whenever and wherever we can. We will not be able to help everyone, but we are to minister to those “at our gate” who we learn are needy.