What are we as Christians to do about the poor?

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Are we as Christians called to try to eliminate poverty? Sometimes we are "blamed" by the world for not eliminating or at least trying to eliminate poverty.

-- Anonymous, September 30, 2000


As long as there are some in the world driven by greed we will not elminate poverty. Jesus told us "the poor ou will have with you always." In this I beieve he meant both econimically and spiritually, and the former is a direct consequence of the latter. Concentration of wealth is often opposed to distribution of wealth.

What we Christians can do is "light a candle rather than curse the darkness." This happens in two ways. Those of us who are willing to sacrifice resources should pool them, so that these resources are avilable for the needs of the poor (See Acts 3-4). But, we should also teach folks how to fish rather than jst giving fish. Deveoping means of self-help and self sustenance are both reflective of the spirit of Chirst, and the original mission of Allen. We should encourage skill building, savings over consumption, investment, education. We may not make the world rich, but we can make a difference.

-- Anonymous, October 01, 2000

The Bible is very clear that we are to take care of the poor. Before Jesus preached to the multitude, about 5,000 people he fed them!! With a few fish and loaves of bread, there was enough for everyone to eat. Then he began his sermon, we as christians are asked to emulate our Lord and Savior in all aspects of our lives. And that means caring for the poor, wherever they are. If they are hungry feed them first, then teach them how to fish. Our denomination historically has asked us to help out the poor, those in prison and hospitals. It is a mandate! The solutions are many and doable. When I was assistant pastor of church, we bought food in bulk for the congregation. For fifteen dollars a month, a member of the church or community could get fifty dollars worth of food. We even took food stamps, we can have food and clothing pantries in our churches. I always have. We can start a penny campaign, have the food bank directors come to our church and give cooking lessons, and shopping tips, one a month visit a homeless shelter etc. If we do not do these things then we are spiritually poor.

-- Anonymous, October 01, 2000

We are called to feed the hungry but the Church itslef has taken a back seat to the social needs of the poor. We look to government to provide for everyone and heal these ills instead of embarking upon the mission that Jesus called us to.

-- Anonymous, October 02, 2000

I have alwys been fascinated by the message Jesus sent to John in prison ... the poor have the Gospel preached to them. I believe we should guard against a social gospel ... too much emphasis on providing for the need of those around us and doing nothing about spreading the unadulterated word of God. It would be wise to note that whenever Jesus fed people it was simply because He was moved with compassion, but remained faithful to the long range values of His mission. We ought to care for the poor as touching our mission where we find ourselves, but not as a project of reaching out to satisfy a need ( Just a little bit to whet you appetite ... correspondance will supply more on the subject)

-- Anonymous, October 02, 2000

One of my earliest memories is of reading the Bible story of Ruth the Gleaner. In those days the corners of the fields were left for the poor to come out and glean "pick the grain left in the corners and the stalks dropped by the harvesters." Boaz, because he was attracted to Ruth instructed his workers to deliberately drop stalks and instructed Ruth to glean only in his fields, but that is another story. The gleaners were able to feed their families without losing their dignity. The miracles of Jesus feeding the 5000, etc. does not appear to be examples of His feeding the poor. The people were hungry because they had stayed to be taught by Him. Being hungry at church does not mean that one is poor. He allowed the widow to put all she had in the offering also. One of the old testament prophets, Elijah, I believe, after the widow made a meal for him saw to it that her meal and oil did not run out during a famine. But what about the chronic poor? Ruth had glean to provide for herself and Naomi her mother-in-law because Naomi's husband had left his inheritance to go to Moab trying to escape the famine in the land causing his family to fall into poverty. Should the wealthy be forced to redistribute to prevent poverty? I don't think so. I'm still wrestling with the problem of the chronic poor.

-- Anonymous, October 02, 2000

This is in response to Alton. It seems that gleaning was a principle God instituted among his people so that the rich would be distributing their wealth to the poor. In the Old Testament why did God command his people to have a year of jubilee, a sabbatical year, and gleaning if he wasn't concerned with the plight of the poor? If people are interested in this, a great author who writes much about this very topic is Ronald Sider. Right now I am reading Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger. It is very challenging and I would highly recommend it. As Christians, we need to remember that when we feed and clothe the poor, we are feeding and clothing our Savior. (Matthew 25: 31-46) Likewise, when we don't do this, we stand idly by and put our Savior to death. This may sound harsh, but it's in the word straight from the mouth of the Lord Jesus. We serve a God of justice, and there is much economic injustice happening all over the world. God has a special place in his heart for the poor and he HATES to see all the oppression that is going on. "For I, the LORD, love justice. I hate robbery and wrongdoing. I will faithfully reward my people for their suffering and make an everylasting covenant with them." Isaiah 61: 8

-- Anonymous, April 19, 2001

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