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In both the Old and New Testaments, we see God's desire for His children to show compassion to the poor and needy. Jesus said that the poor would always be with us (Matthew 26:11; Mark 14:7). He al...
And we are to give to our familys first as a man who does not provide for his family is worse than an infidel. God is faithfull. Years ago we had four children in school. I was working three part time jobs and my wife was working one part time job. My wifes older sister was dying of cancer and her folks could not take care of her at the time so we took her in. Then my parents called and said they had lost everything and had no place to go. We took them in also. I do not know how we did it but we always paid our bills and never went hungry. Only by the providential care of our Lord could we have gotten thru this. I still marvel at His grace, mercy, and care for His children. I claim nothing as it was only by the grace of God that I would do these things in the first place. There have been many repeats with other family members since this all done by the grace of God. God does not expect us to do what we cannot do, but He does expect us to do what we can. It is a real blessing in itself to give to those that you know will never be able to repay you. Beause that is what Jesus did for us on the cross. He paid the price we could never pay. My works of righteousness are filthy rags compared to what He did for me.
The poor are those in need, and the story of the Good Samaritan is the place to look. As well as " love your neighbour as yourself" simple really. Why give to the rich who don't need what you have?
Giving to the poor is a godly thing to do but we need to exercise spiritual discernment and prudence to determine that they are legitimate targets. Being poor is not itself sinful or disgraceful as some latter day "health and wealth" prophets seek to portray. Under the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man, Lazarus is portrayed as poor and sickly yet he was righteous. The rich man had the best that this passing world could offer yet he was condemned for his evil conduct and lack of compassion. This rich man had the opportunity to support Lazarus with simple alms but he scorned at him and simply neglected his plight. This is not to suggest that poverty is celebrated in the Bible or that God desires that believers should dwell in poverty. There are many Bible characters who were wealthy yet were righteous people who touched the heart of God. Job was one such example in Scripture who was a billionaire of his day yet he is described in the Bible as a man who feared God and shunned evil (Job 1:8). When he lost it all, Job remained devoted to God even in his pain and affliction. God later restored him. The Bible teaches in 1Timothy 6:6-8 that godliness with contentment is great gain and that we should be content with what God has blessed us with. The trouble with the naked pursuit of material wealth is that if it is not guided by biblical principles a believer will drift away from God. That is perfectly what befell the Rich Fool whose story is recorded in Luke 12:13-21. Riches may also breed pride, arrogance and abuse and this is condemned in James 5:1-6. However when we choose to support the needy out of what God has blessed us with, we shall be demonstrating the love of God. Let me conclude by stating that being rich or poor in this earthly life is immaterial in so far as the call to Christian obedience is concerned. The church should never be divided along social class such that the rich trample on the poor and the poor feel isolated from the church community. We are all one in Christ. The Bible teaches in Ephesians 3:28 that there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, male or female for we are all one in Christ. Poverty or Riches are not barometers that determine our spiritual relationship with God. Jesus said that the poor shall always be among us. The modern day popular "Word of Faith" theology that portrays poverty as a curse and glorifies material riches as the exclusive or overriding evidence of God's blessings is unbiblical. Nowhere in Scripture does the Bible condemn poor people or teach that believers must be materially rich. If however one is poor because they are lazy and seeks to live of the sweat of others, that would be a reason for condemnation. The Bible teaches that we should work for our daily upkeep and not be busybodies. We have no obligation to support the lazy who refuse to work and earn a living. Whatever station we may be in this earthly life, God can and does the bless the work of our hands so that we may prosper and be a blessing to others.
In the Catholic Bible, in the Apocrypha, the duty of care for and of giving to the poor (Tobit 4:7 (ptochos); Ecclesiasticus 29:8 (tapeinos -- ταπεινός (tapeinos) -- low-lying...), is mentioned. Tobit 4:7 "Give generously to anyone who faithfully obeys God. If you are stingy in giving to the poor, God will be stingy in giving to you." Ecclesiasticus 29:8 "Nevertheless, be understanding with those who are poor. Don't keep them waiting for your generosity." In the New Testament ptochos, "trembling," "poor," "beggar," is almost exclusively the word translated "poor." Ptochos is translated "beggar" (Lk 16:20,22) and "beggarly" (Gal 4:9); penes, "one who works for his daily bread," "a poor man," is the word in 2 Cor 9:9; the poor widow of Mk 12:42 is described in Lk 21:2 as penichros, "very poor." The Apocrypha is not included in most of the widely used protestant Bibles. Why not? See the fine article @ https://ebible.com/questions/3351-what-are-the-apocrypha-deuterocanonical-books I agree with John Piper who said, "I really enjoy reading the Apocrypha. I do not believe it is inspired. I do not believe it should be a part of the church’s liturgy. I do not believe Christians should read it for their devotions. But I do believe it can be historically, theologically, and spiritually beneficial to students of God’s word, whether they be a scholar, pastor, or armchair theologian. Should everyone read the Apocrypha? No. But every Christian would do well to know what’s in it — what is harmful, and what is helpful."
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