Ask the Pastor 41

What do we do about the poor?

During my graduate work at the University of Nebraska there was a professor in Sociology who made the comment that the only thing the Bible ever says about the poor is that they will be with us always. I took the opportunity to correct him. The wisdom books, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes have a great deal to say about the poor. They give warnings to work so that you do not become poor and it is for the affluent to care for the poor. For example, “He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” (Proverbs 10:4) and “But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he.” (14:21). In the Mosaic law provision was made for the poor, that they could follow the reapers and pick up any grain that was left behind and the corners of the fields were to be left standing for the benefit of the poor. Ruth was a woman who was able to take advantage of these laws to support herself and her mother in-law until she married Boaz and became the great grandmother of king David. Our Lord told a rich man that to inherit eternal life, he would need to give all that he had to the poor (Luke 18:22) and in the church we are to give to support the ministry and to supply the needs of the poor (II Corinthians 9:5-15). It is better for the poor to be helped through the benevolence of the Lord’s people than through taxation and the government. We give to the poor and we work to help them to help themselves. But in order for this to work, we must have the love of God in our hearts through our faith in the Lord Jesus.

Have questions about the Bible? Send them to Dr. Greg Koehn at and read the answer here in this article

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