Christians, Who Will Take Care of the Poor?

There are a number of categories of “the poor.” One of those categories are those persons with very limited financial, and thereby all other material resources. Those who are financially poor may have no income or be low-wage earners. They may be relatively poor, possibly disaster-ravaged, with nominal food, shelter, clothing, and means by which to do better.

Statistics regarding the financially poor are alarming. A quarter of the world’s population lives in poverty by U.S. standards. Additionally, even here in the United States, approximately twenty percent of children live in impoverished families, with many tens of thousands of them homeless, along with their families. The numbers continue to worsen via natural disasters such as hurricanes Sandy, Katrina, Irma, and Jose. There have been numerous tornadoes, floods, and wildfires in the south, Midwest and far west over the past fifteen years, their effects compounded annually by poor economies for the working classes whose jobs are exported to other countries or taken by foreigners hired via H1B, J1 visa legislation or other laws that favor employers wishing to hire lower wage workforces (American or not).

There is no need to act as though persons outside of our borders or those who have made their way across and stayed illegally are all our responsibilities. Right in your own communities, there are many citizens whose daily needs, much fewer desires, are never met. They are persons without families, friends, peers and political representation. They live under bridges, in alleys, in the shade of subways, under the cover of vacant, dilapidated buildings, and cardboard. Some, kicked out of mental facilities, find no room in shelters because their minds, ravaged by disease and recurrent, limited pharmacotherapy coupled with their distasteful appearances make them the unwanted. They are the ones for whom no federal money is earmarked, for whom no political jobs are assigned, who have even lost their ability to dream. They are your citizen brothers, sisters, and neighbors that you have given up in exchange for more recent, politically favored voices. They are hustled off the streets and harassed until maybe they find homes in barb-wired, concrete and steel facilities that you pay for via taxation.

God informed us that the poor will always be with us not so as to precipitate desensitization, rather to heighten our awareness of their need. Many recently went to the polls believing that government should not excessively burden its population because those who often espouse the mantra of care, but usually apply for funding inappropriately and inefficiently. However, even the most fervent conservatives cannot keep the poor outside of their peripheral vision as if they do not exist. They must simply turn the five loaves and two fish into many thousands, appropriately distributing them, teach the recipients who are capable to bake and fish, and care for the residual poor citizen neighbors who are simply too beaten down by life.

So, who will take care of the poor? It is intended for you (His people) to enjoy the blessings of God (including wealth) so that you may spread the gospel, simultaneously living life more abundantly and taking care of the poor (Lev. 25:35-36). But, until your ability and willingness to do so are more abundantly developed, the Syrophonecians will have to tend to their own. Prosper now and live as God wants you to live!

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