Most disciples of Jesus believe we are to help the poor but how are we to make good judgments on who to help and who not to help? Are there Bible Scriptures that tell us just how we can help the poor and what we can do to help them?
Jesus spoke about the “poor in spirit” and pronounced a blessing on them. Is Jesus talking about the financially poor? In Matthew 5:3 He said, “Happy are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
In Luke, Jesus says “Happy are you who are poor, because the kingdom of God is yours.”
- The poor in spirit may be those who are despised in this world, they are looked down on by many; they are humble, contrite people.
- The poor in spirit are blessed because they are small in their own eyes. Since God resists the proud, He gives grace only to the humble (James 4:6).
- The poor in spirit are not those who are not prosperous necessarily, but those who consider others better than themselves. They are broken over their sinfulness.
- Disciples need to love one another, and we should help those who are in poor spirits too but to be poor in spirit is not to be poor financially, although that could be part of it, but it is to be meek and humble.
A great definition of meekness is strength under control. The truth be told, disciples of Jesus are simply one beggar who has received the Kingdom of Heaven, giving it to another beggar who as yet is outside of the Kingdom.
Jesus didn’t say if you give to the poor but when:
So whenever you give to the poor, don’t sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be applauded by people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward. | Matthew 6:2 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
It is hard to discern who to help and who not to help, but even in Israel’s infancy,
“There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land” (Duet 15:11).
Proverbs 21:13 is among the most powerful calls from God to help those who are hungry because
“If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.”