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Thursday, September 13 2018

Contributor: Leye Olayiwola

Introduction: So, who is a poor person? “lacking a normal or adequate supply of something specified” (Merriam-Webster)Deficient or lacking in; Lacking sufficient money to live at a standard considered comfortable or normal in a society. (Oxford).

There is no doubt that poverty’s reach is both widespread and devastating. God’s people cannot be indifferent toward those in need, because His expectations for us in regard to taking care of the poor are woven throughout the entirety of Scripture. The first part of Proverbs 14:31 says, “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker.” Proverbs is, in fact, filled with verses clearly showing that God loves the poor and is offended when His children neglect them. The consequences for ignoring the plight of the poor are also made clear in Proverbs Proverbs 21:13: “If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered”. And note the strong language in Proverbs 28:27: “He who closes his eyes to [the poor] receives many curses.”.  

We will consider some strange teachings relating to giving to the poor and the examples that Jesus gave us in the scriptures.

  1. Contrasting Teachings about Giving to the Poor
  • Teaching that giving to an anointed personality will bring a greater blessing to the donor than giving o the poor or supporting the local church's ministry at the expense of the poor. These teachers imply that because they have a "special anointing" like Jesus, they have a gift—a Midas touch to multiply money back to the donor and impart great blessings.
  • Some of these ministers actually suggest that there is not much blessing in giving to the poor by quoting Proverbs 19:17: “He who is gracious and lends a hand to the poor lends to the Lord, And the Lord will repay him for his good deed.”
  • Referring to the above scripture, some ministers allege that giving to the poor is not too good an investment. They say, "Giving five dollars to a poor person is a loan to God, and He will pay you back five dollars.” You get back just what you 'loaned' to God. But if you invest that five dollars in a ministry with a 'higher anointing,' you can expect a multiplied return."
  • Jesus’s statement about always having the poor with you in John 12:8 has been mis-interpreted to mean that the poor aren't worth much, that they're a dime a dozen. This teaching is totally wrong and thoroughly unscriptural. Such suggestions are completely false interpretations of Proverbs19:7 and John 12:8.
  1. Truth about Giving to the Poor
  • The idea that "loaning" a dollar to God by giving it to the poor will only bring a repayment of a dollar is not consistent with other Bible examples. John 5 tells how Jesus "borrowed" Peter's boat. He got into the boat and asked "the big fisherman" to put out from the shore so He would have a platform to teach the crowd of people who had thronged about Him. Then Jesus repaid Peter for the loan of his boat.

“When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”  When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.  So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.” [Luke 5:4-7 NIV]

  • In the very next chapter of John's Gospel, we find the account of the feeding of the five thousand. You know the story: A little boy gave his lunch of five small barley loaves and two fish to Jesus, who multiplied them to feed the multitude of hungry people. When everyone had eaten, the disciples gathered up the leftovers—twelve baskets full! (see John 6:8-12.). It is believed that Jesus gave those twelve baskets of bread and fish to that little boy who had given his lunch to the poor, "loaning" it to God. Several people must have had to help him carry all that food back home. He was repaid for his loan with bountiful interest.
  • People often quote just one verse of Scripture on a subject that seems to give a certain impression, but they ignore many others. You can't build a doctrine on any one scripture. The Bible says, "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established" (2 Cor. 13:1).
  • The New Testament is equally clear as to how we are to take care of the poor. One verse that nicely summarizes our expected charity is found in the first Epistle of John:

“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with action and in truth”

(1 John 3:17–18 ESV)

  • God's Word gives us insight into His heart for the poor and instruction in how we are to care for them. If we truly have faith in Jesus, we must also share His concern for the poor. Jesus commanded us to love one another (John 13:34–35). And what better way to demonstrate the love and kindness and compassion of Jesus Christ than by reaching out to the “least of these” among us?

Conclusion:

The Bible has much to say about helping and ministering to the poor. Let's start with the verse some ministers misuse. In John 12:8, Jesus says, "You will always have the poor among you." What Jesus really meant is disclosed in the Old Testament verse He was quoting:

"There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore, I command you to be open-handed toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land" [Deut.15:11 NIV].

So what Jesus was really saying, in essence, was this: "There will always be poor people to help, and you should help them as much as you can. You'll always have opportunities to help the poor, but I'll only be here a very short time."

Part of this teaching was taken from “THE MIDAS TOUCH” by Kenneth E. Hagin

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 04:36 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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