“For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always” (Matthew 26:11 NKJ).
Was Jesus being selfish over here or what? The truth was He knew how human compassion reacts with the oppressed, the disadvantaged, the destitute and the poor. The fact is the unregenerate man’s sympathy is based solely on his physical senses. Evidently, during His earthly ministry His disciples were touched as they ministered to the poor and the needy, because they saw the dark side of poverty. In the scripture above, however, Jesus revealed the true condition of their hearts. Jesus contends that it is easier for a man to concern himself with physical things than spiritual things. This is true especially when living by faith and believing on the Word of God.
For some it is easier to do good works than putting faith in God’s Word. In some cases, people do penance believing that God will save them if they continue to do so. Others do everything to feed the poor and change the world into a better place, rather than living by faith. There’s nothing wrong with doing good works, however, Jesus wants man to place God first in his life through faith and the rest will follow.
The word “poor” means lacking material possessions; of, relating to, or characterized by poverty. It was never the will of God that man lives in poverty, or to become poor and live in lack. Poverty was out of the question in the perfect plan of God. However, because of sin, poverty crept in. It was then that God declared that man has to toil the ground with the sweat of his brows for food. As a result, man has destined to work against the tenacious ground in order to survive the curse of poverty. Otherwise, he will surely die in lack.
Here are scriptures that reveal the dark side of poverty:
• “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 15:11 NKJ).
Either in or no catastrophic events, man has always been battling the forces of poverty and lack in order to survive. Even rich countries, as compared to the “third world” have people in their backyards living in deep poverty. Poverty is everywhere, and it is not a respecter of person. The scripture above declares that the poor will never cease from the earth. There will always be poor amongst us. Man can never annihilate poverty. It is a demonic force that was strategically designed from hell to destroy the lives of many.
It is not until the new heavens and the new earth come forth, the poor are here to stay. Why? It is because man allowed it. Only God’s mercy and grace can save man from the bondage of poverty. And for those who once lived in poverty, will attest that it was a life of pain, suffering, lack, struggle and wants.
• “Therefore I said, “Surely these are poor, they are foolish; for they do not know the way of the Lord, the judgment of their God” (Jeremiah 5:4 NKJ).
We all have a choice in life. You may choose to live in poverty or outside of poverty. As a matter of fact, many have determined to live outside of poverty at all costs. Some have even surrendered their lives to evil just to escape poverty. The prophet Jeremiah declared that these poor, they are fools because they do not know the way of the Lord.
Let’s face the fact that countless Christians are living in poverty at this moment because they do not know the ways of the Lord. They claim to know their God, but they fail to understand His ways. Their entire Christian life is living in ignorance. They’ve learned ritualistic religious exercise instead of faith and obedience to His Word.
There’s no such poverty in the Kingdom of God. God does not live in a poverty stricken kingdom. It is the devil who wants you to remain a fool and believe that being poor is God’s will.
• “The ransom of a man’s life is his riches, but the poor does not hear rebuke” (Proverbs 13:8 KJV).
There is a stronghold deep within the soul of a poor. The stronghold is the blindness that darkened his eyes. He is unable to see the light of the Gospel of Christ and His riches in heaven that was freely given to us. Poverty has blinded man’s eyes. He is unable to comprehend the provision of God and the freedom from poverty. He is self-righteous and would not accept any rebuke from the Word of God. He is arrogant and self righteous. He thinks he doesn’t need help from any one. It is an act of extreme prejudice.
• “The rich man’s wealth is his strong city; the destruction of the poor is their poverty” (Proverbs 10:15).
The end of the poor is destruction. I knew someone who lived his childhood in poverty. When he reached his teen age years, he finally got tired of living miserable. He told himself, “I don’t want to live in this place anymore. I will do everything to get out from this pit.” And sure enough he finished his education, got a nice job and produced a great family of his own. He now enjoys the fruits of his labor.
You see, destruction is waiting at the end of the road. Someone has said that CASH is king. There is a little bit of a truth on that. It means you owe no one, and you pay everything in cash, and no one has a hold on you. If you have cash, you have all the choices you want. You may chose to eat in the most expensive restaurant, travel in the most expensive way, or explore the universe if you may, because you have cash.
• “The poor man is hated even by his own neighbor, but the rich has many friends” (Proverbs 14:20 NKJ).
• “Wealth makes friends, but the poor is separated from his friend” (Proverbs 19:4 NKJ).
• “All the brothers of the poor hate him; how much more do his friends go far from him! He may pursue them with his words, yet they abandon him” (Proverbs 19:7NKJ).
The poor man is hated even by his own neighbor. This is actually occurring in some communities. They blame the poor for causing the value of their properties to go down because some poor families moved in into their neighborhood. They despised the poor and they moved out from that neighborhood to relocate somewhere, where they feel rich once again. It is also realistic that people remember you when you have the money. But if you are poor, people easily forget you.
• “There is a generation whose teeth are like swords, and whose fangs are like knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men” (Proverbs 30:14 NKJ).
• “Like a roaring lion and a charging bear, is a wicked ruler over poor people” (Proverbs 28:15 NKJ).
This is an extreme case. People take advantage of the poor and the needy. They figure that a poor man is helpless and hopeless; therefore, they can use him and abuse him. It is extreme slavery of a helpless soul.
• “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7 NKJ).
Politicians, social scientists, social engineers, the religious, the rebels, the fanatics, and the delusional are crying for social justice and equality amongst us. They also cry for freedom from oppressions and cruelty from the wicked. But they are ignorant of the truth – that there will never be social justice and equality on planet as long as there is poor amongst us. The truth is the rich rules over the poor. As long as there is a poor who borrows and there is someone who lends, there is no equality on earth. The borrower is always servant to the lender.
So, if you want to be a servant to someone, you may want to borrow from someone. But who is a fool to do such a thing? However, you need to understand that borrowing is not limited to money alone. You may end up to be a servant to someone after you asked someone a favor.
• “A poor man who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain which leaves no food” (Proverbs 28:3 NKJ).
Even among the poor they devour each other. Who else could a poor take advantage upon other than his poor neighbor? The fact is poor neighborhood become poorer because of the curse of poverty. Sad to say, however, that countless neighborhood, communities, ghettoes, or countries are uncontrollably going down the hill into deeper poverty.
Poverty is not God’s will. Jesus has taken away our poverty. He nailed it to the cross and bore our infirmities and our lack and sin. He has made us free from the works of the evil one.
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9 NKJ).