An online dictionary defines being poor as lacking financial or other means of subsistence. Another dictionary defines poor as a state of having insufficient wealth to meet the necessities or comforts of life, or inability to live in a manner considered acceptable in a society. These definitions of the word ‘poor’ may be expanded to include the state of powerlessness with regard to the lack of physical or intellectual strength. It may also include defenselessness with regard to the lack of having connections with the powerful voices that be in the society. Lastly, it may include poor in health as it might relate to sickness or as a result of old age. Anyone that is found in the confinement of these definitions of poor can generally be classified as a needy person.
Some are born poor in a poverty stricken society while others find themselves in the state of being poor as a result of the vicissitudes of life. Beholding the opulence of the wealthy ones is not expected to invoke envy in the eyes of the poor, but it is a statement to the poor to look unto the Lord for His hearts of mercy. Being rich does not mean that privileged one should treat the poor with derision but it is a passionate plea to the rich to be thoughtful in the way they distribute their wealth. “If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.” “… Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto. For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.” (Deuteronomy 15:7-8, 10-11)
Do not let your attitude in dealing with the poor constitute oppression or mocking of the poor. Instead, rise up with your power, your resources and in the grace that God has extended unto you, to support them as God has given you the ability to be a voice for their defense. “He who mocks the poor taunts his Maker; He who rejoices at calamity will not go unpunished.” (Proverbs 17:5) He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him [God] hath mercy on the poor. (Proverbs 14:31) On many occasions, many have used their powerful positions and their opulence to shift the landmark in order to rob the innocent of their choice inheritance. The powerful ones used the arm of the law to support their selfish motives. They kill and maim the widows and the fatherless who attempted to challenge them when they took their inheritance by force. “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless.” (Isaiah 10:1-2 NIV)
The scripture reminded us that there is no difference in the biological creation of the poor and rich. The God Almighty created the poor the same way He created the rich, in His own image. The same red blood is flowing in our veins. There is no mistake in the place that God had sojourned all His creations. Opportunities that have been made available for each of His creations seems to create class difference. “The rich and the poor have a common bond, The LORD is the maker of them all.” (Proverbs 22:2) When you render a helping hand to the poor, your hands becomes the extension of God’s hands. At that moment, you stand as a representative of God to render a helping hand of fellowship to the needy one. It is as if you lend God Almighty a sum of money. Be sure that God will surely repay you beyond your expectations. “One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his good deed.” (Proverbs 19:17)
In our days in which some rich folks are in the quest of making abnormal profit from their endeavors, they take advantage of hiring poor workers and immigrants that are residing in their land. At the end of the day, they pay these hired workers next to nothing. In some case, some government employers in other countries in the world do not consider it a necessity to pay their employees at the right time. Some are owing their workers salaries of six months in arrears. The Merciful Father had envisaged this and had specifically warned the rich saying, “Do not take advantage of a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether that worker is a fellow Israelite [citizen] or a foreigner [illegal immigrant] residing in one of your towns. Pay them their wages each day before sunset, because they are poor and are counting on it. Otherwise they may cry to the Lord against you, and you will be guilty of sin.” (Deuteronomy 24:14-15 NIV)
It is amazing that when the Israelites were yet to get to the Promised Land, God taught them the importance of being thoughtful and mindful towards the poor and the needy foreigners that dwell among them. He commanded them saying, “When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. Leave it for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 23:22) “And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 19:9-10) Ruth, the Moabite and her mother in-law, Naomi subsisted on the barley grain remnants that the harvesters deliberately left behind during the harvest time in the farm of Boaz as God commanded them. Little did the harvesters know that they were making provision for the great great-grand mother of Jesus Christ because Jesus Christ later came to this earth from the lineage of Ruth the mother of Obed. “…There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of [king] David.” (Ruth 4:17)
The poor are crying aloud in their various afflictions in our societies. Lack of food for their sustenance is their cry. Homelessness is the cry of the poor. Denial of judgment and unfair treatment bring tears to their eyes. Being beating down and stepped upon brings their heart low in the valley of life. Abandonment of our loving parents in the nursing home in their old age create unbearable loneliness in their hearts. “Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.” (Proverbs 21:13) Do not close your bowel of mercy against the poor and needy ones. Be a voice of defense for them. Be the extended hand of God in their lives to transform their emptiness and to reveal the fullness of God. Be mindful and thoughtful of their helpless lives and extend the love of God towards them in fellowship. As you are sharing the good things of this world with them, feed them with the word of God because man shall not live by the bread alone, so that the eyes of their understanding may be enlightened spiritually. “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” (1 John 3:17) Remember beloved, do not close the bowel of mercy against the poor and the needy because the Merciful God has not closed His bowel of mercy against you.
Prayer: O Lord, endow me with the heart of mercy and thoughtfulness to minister to the needs of the poor and the needy ones around me. Grant me the grace to love them and remember them in my prayers and in the abundant of my opulence in Jesus name, Amen.