Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Righteous Poor

7 “If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, 8 but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs. 9 Beware lest there be a wicked thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand,’ and your eye be evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing, and he cry out to the LORD against you, and it become sin among you. 10 You shall surely give to him, and your heart should not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand. 11 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 15:7-11)

There is no virtue in poverty. Simply being poor does not necessitate unqualified charity. God rewards the righteous, and disciplines the wicked. Jesus said that we are to be like our heavenly Father. As Christians, our charity is to be first towards the righteous poor, that is the poor amongst the community of believers, then, we are to preach the Gospel to those outside the household of Faith, and such as respond to the Gospel, we are to relieve their poverty, not to ensnare them in dependence upon handouts, but to enable them to become productive and provident members of the redeemed community.

"The poor will never cease from the land; ..." so, the so-called war on poverty is a futile endeavour. Poverty is not the enemy. Sin is the enemy. Poverty arises from sin. Our war needs to be focused towards every deviation from the revealed commandments of the Living God. If men would simply obey God's commands as they apply to all of life, then poverty would be lessened, because sin would be lessened - especially the sins of indolence, laziness, covetousness, theft and such like, all of which find their mucky manifestations with poverty.

1 comment:

Steve from the Alice said...

This is very thought-provoking and challenging, particularly within most churches and the church in general where charity is shot-gunned out into the community willy-nilly. I wish, for example, that those with keen business/entreprenurial sense within the church would give some solid economic advice and assistance to Aborginal Christians, both on settlements and in the cities, many of whom are as trapped within the welfare-poverty trap as their non-Christian brothers and sisters. For your part, keep dispensing sound financial planning in your position.