“Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him.” (Psalm 41:1)
It is amazing considering our behavior how often a reference is made in the Scriptures about God’s concern for the poor. Of all the things God imposes on His children, nothing compares with His constant and repeated reminders to take care of the poor.
It was a major point of the Law and it was a talking point of the prophets. It was immediately taken up by Jesus in His ministry. It was of utmost importance to the Apostles and to the early church.
Two things are evident in the scriptures relative to the poor. First, there are always poor people to be considered. Second, the non-poor are always required to take care of the poor. A careful look at the law and the prophets will show us that this requirement went beyond food and clothing. Justice for the poor was paramount to God. It still is.
The Biblical poor were those who were unable to provide for themselves due to some illness, accident, or circumstance. The Bible makes it plain that those who chose this lifestyle rather than working were not among the “needy poor.” Paul says that if someone won’t work they shouldn’t be fed. Laziness is not poverty. Laziness is not condoned in scripture.
Task for Today: Do not close up your heart or your treasure to the Biblical poor. Do not build storage for your plenty when surrounded by those without. Give generously because God loves that kind of giver. Give because you have been given; in most cases heaped up, pressed down, and running over.