The Editor’s Desk by Shawn McMullen
God cares about the poor: “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap” (Psalm 113:7). He warns against mistreating them: “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God” (Proverbs 14:31). He promises to reward those who care for them: “He who is kind to the poor lends to the lord, and he will reward him for what he has done” (Proverbs 19:17).
The Gospel and the Poor
Early in his ministry Christ acknowledged he had been sent to preach the gospel to the poor. “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed” (Luke 4:18).
Later he confirmed his identity to John the Baptist by pointing to his ministry among the poor: “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor” (Matthew 11:5).
Hospitality and the Poor
Jesus taught that we should be hospitable to the poor when he said, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous” (Luke 14:12-14).
Generosity and the Poor
Christ used the generosity of a poor widow to teach his disciples a lesson in sacrificial giving. “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on’” (Mark 12:41-44).
Contributions and the Poor
The apostle Paul followed Jesus’ teaching, no doubt adding his personal gifts to the poor to the contributions of other believers: “For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem” (Romans 15:26). “I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings” (Acts 24:17).
Ministry and the Poor
Paul considered ministry to the poor an integral part of his calling. Recounting a visit with leaders in the church in Jerusalem he wrote, “All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do” (Galatians 2:10).