CAN POVERTY BE ELIMINATED?
According to God’s Word, poverty will never be eliminated in this world. Yet, this fact is stated not to excuse our responsibility to the poor, but to encourage our ongoing generosity towards them.
As the Israelites prepared to enter the Promised Land, God made provision for every person and tribe to be land owners. He promised to bless them with rain and abundant harvests. He told them, “There should be no poor among you, for the Lord your God will greatly bless you in the land he is giving you as a special possession” (Deut. 15:4). Yet, only a few verses later, God says there will always be poor in the land. Is this a contradiction? Certainly not. Both statements are true. God blessed Israel sufficiently to eliminate poverty, but human sin always results in human impoverishment.
If the people of Israel could’ve obeyed God’s Law, there would have been no poor among them. But they could not. This is why we need a Savior. One who takes our poverty upon Himself and offers the riches of heaven in return.
When Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume, pouring it out and wiping it with her hair, Judas Iscariot was incensed. He questioned why it wasn’t sold and the money given to the poor. But Jesus rebuked him saying, “The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me” (John 12:8). Jesus was not relieving his disciples of their responsibility towards the poor of which he was always mindful, but was commending the extravagant love Mary had expressed to him.
Our responsibility to help the poor should keep this principle in mind. Human poverty is more than physical, it has a spiritual basis. We must offer both bread and the Bread of Life to the poor if we wish to eliminate poverty in our land.
PRAYER: Dear Father, help us to always be generous towards the poor, knowing that you have been generous towards us by giving us your Son, Jesus. Teach us how to share the gospel and meet needs too. We want to follow your Spirit in this.