But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? (1 John 3:17).
Most of the population sees the poor in a negative light. After all, in their opinion, the poor are lazy, needy, beggars, and do nothing good for this world. The poor are either sympathized with or are ignored. Even Jesus was considered poor.
In fact, He left home and everything that He had ever known to go out into the world to save the world from eternal judgment. The fact is that we are all the same whether we are rich, middle class, lower class, or poor. What we have or do not have should not change how we see each other.
“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day (John 12:46-48).
We, children of God, are called to love each other and to be there for each other. Therefore, as it is stated in the Book of Mark, we are to “‘love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these” (12:30-31).
The Poor in Spirit
So, how does this help us understand what the Bible says about the poor? Well, in Matthew 5:3, Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This verse is not exactly specific about the context of the phrase “poor in spirit,” but it represents Jesus’ mission to the world.
Jesus came to preach the Good News to the poor, the brokenhearted, the oppressed, and much more, as stated in Luke 4:16-19,
So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
So, let me ask you this: have you ever thought about why it is more difficult for a rich person to be saved? Maybe it is because he or she puts their hope and confidence in money or possessions. There is even the consideration that the rich person can be “poor in spirit.”
How? Because, maybe, even with all of the money and possessions they have, they realize their need for God. Even so, it is written in Scripture to show us how narrow the road is to follow God and not the world (Matthew 19).
The Proud and the Humble
I do not think I could even count the times of how prideful I have been in my life. Pride is always chasing us and leading us away from God. We are not immune to it. But it may be even more difficult to stay humble.
In 1 John 3:17, the Bible states that we are closed off to God's love if we are using what God gave us to give to the poor and needy. How much have you given to those in need? Even so, being poor doesn't exclude pride making its way into your life either.
Proverbs 29:23 says, “One's pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.” The fact is that pride will always try to invade your life.
When you have enough, you do not need much. But when you do not have enough, you need more. This perspective has haunted me for the past few years because I always felt inadequate in this world. I was searching for peace and prosperity in everything that the world offered.
In my pride, I was taking on a weight that was bringing me so low. I was running in circles that always brought me back to the beginning. I am learning that I cannot bear the weight that I was never supposed to take on. Matthew 11:29 says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
So how does this pertain to the poor? The prideful?
The definition of a “yoke” is “a wooden crosspiece that is fastened over the necks of two animals and attached to the plow or cart that they are to pull.” This wooden piece was not harming the animal nor making it uncomfortable. Jesus said that His yoke is easy and light.
Therefore, those that are poor, lowly, and do not “have enough” are finding rest in Jesus. They are supposed to be walking alongside Jesus. Neither walking behind nor ahead. Many of us are attempting to walk ahead of God because we think we are wise.
The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice (Proverbs 12:15).
A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart (Proverbs 21:2).
Being wise is knowing that we need God. We need Him whether we have wealth, or we have nothing. Just know that it is harder for a wealthy person to have the need of God.
So, what do we gain from all of this? Being poor does not demean you. Nor does it place you into a category of hopelessness. Being poor is recognizing your need for God and knowing that He will provide, carry, and bring you to a place of always leaning on Him.
It isn't a bad thing to need God. Actually, God welcomes you into His grace and peace. Do not be afraid of the struggle and the hardships. God will always be there for you.
A Closing Prayer
Father, we love you. We praise and honor you for all that you have done for us. You, God, are a shield of protection and a fortress for the weak and lowly. We thank you God for giving us life and giving us your precious Son Jesus so that we could be reconciled to you.
Father, I pray for those that are struggling and finding that they need you God rather than they need this world. I pray that they rest in you God and walk alongside you God. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
For further reading:
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Stas_V
Rebecca Mashburn (Gordon) has a wonderful husband named Joseph. She has a blog, Trust. Lean, Seek and is working on becoming what God is calling her to. She has a bachelor's in psychology and hopes to one day pursue a degree in biblical counseling. Rebecca loves to be in nature, especially in springtime, and she loves to travel. She has a loving family and hopes one day to have children of her own.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
These verses serve as a source of renewal for the mind and restoration for the heart by reinforcing the notion that, while human weakness is inevitable, God's strength is always available to uplift, guide, and empower us.
Video stock video and music probided by SoundStripe