Regarding the poor, Moses writes, “thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother.” -Deut15:7
David declares, “Blessed is he that considereth the poor…” -Ps41:1
Again David said, “He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor…”
Jesus said, “…the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” -Matt11:5
Again, Jesus declared, “…One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven...” -Mk 10:21
Paul writes, “Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do”. -Gal2:10
Over 50 years ago, President Lyndon Johnson declared: “War on Poverty” In 2007, regarding the U.S. Census Bureau report, Robert Rector wrote, “The report will show, as it has in recent years that around 37 million people live in official poverty.”
From the Old Testament, to the New Testament, to the nation—helping the poor is not a suggestion, but a sovereign commandment of God! It is a universal mandate, written on the heart of mankind by the finger of God!
Yet, without doubt, for the anti-prosperity advocates…'helping the poor’… is the place of their greatest hypocrisy!
There are at least two ways to help the poor:
1.To assist with survival
2.To teach and/or train them to produce
First, to assist the poor with their survival is ‘not’ controversial. Of course, for the Christian, to experience one who is desolate, and close your heart and hand is unGodly (Deut15:7). What is controversial however, is ‘how’ to assist the poor in their survival. Some people believe in limited help for a limited period of time; while others believe in full support over an unlimited time; while still others are somewhere in between. But I repeat, helping the poor is not an option—but a commandment of God Himself!
Because the Bible says, if you don’t work, you don’t eat(2Thes3:10), to offer the poor full support over an unlimited period is unbiblical. Therefore, the poor should be helped, but it must be limited, over a limited time. The question that remains is to define “limited help”. At minimum, helping the poor requires three areas:
1.Survival needs. Food, water, clothing, shelter, etc.
2.Stewardship. Diagnosing problems and recommending
3.Training/teaching. Building or developing a skill(s).
The first place of irrefutable and undeniable hypocrisy of ALL anti-prosperity people is although there are at minimum three ways to extend help to the poor, all help must pass through one door: Prosperity!!
For example, if a poor person is destitute, i.e.without food, or shelter, or clothing; he/she is helped when another gives what is necessary for survival. In other words, if the poor has no food, and someone helps him with food, he/she has prospered! Or, if the poor has no shelter, and someone helps him/her with shelter, he/she has prospered. This is called increase, growth, i.e.prosperity. When a poor person is helped through desolation, or out of desolation, that poor person has prospered…no exceptions to this truth!
The second way the anti-prosperity crowd is hypocritical regarding the poor is that those who help the poor must have ‘more than enough’! In order to help the poor to survive, the helper cannot require help to survive! In other words, the poor do not help the poor; only the non-poor help the poor! The poor require help, they do not give help…which is the reason the Bible instructs us to help the poor…and not vice versa! For example, Psalms 112:9 declares: “He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor…”
This passage identifies two separate groups:
1.He who disperses; or he who gives to the poor
First, the word “He” in Psalms 112:9, identifies as the person/group to whom the instruction is addressed! The second group is ‘the poor’, to whom “He” gives. In other words, “He” is the non-poor, who disperses, and gives to the poor.
If you read earlier in Psalms 112, you will find this non-poor person/group is called either:
1.The man who delights greatly in his commandments
3.A good man
Psalms 112:3 specifically says, this ‘non-poor’ person has wealth and riches in his house.
I am happy to report, God wills his people to help the poor! Yet,
1.to help the poor, you cannot be the poor
2.to help the poor, you must be prosperous
3.to help the poor, is to prosper them
Rejoice and be glad, our God is a ‘rewarder’ of those who diligently seek Him (Heb11:6). There are many poor who need help…become one whom God uses to help others!
What we hope ever to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence.
-Samuel Johnson [1709-1784] Lexicographer and writer