Ask a liberal their favorite Bible verse and most of the time you will get one of the ones about caring for the poor, and there are a lot of them. I do not dispute nor disagree with them. Yet there is always a, “But…” that I seem to get cut off before I can deliver. The old Testament spends massive amounts of time establishing and protecting private property. Clearly the Biblical view of caring for the poor is a matter of charity, not compulsion. It is a matter of sharing out of an open and loving heart, not taking for redistribution through mandate.
Most Christians are aware that Jesus said He came, “not to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it,” as we so often hear quoted when someone seeks leniency in the application of some moral prohibition. And yet, so often, you never hear such things when it comes to the application of the moral mandates like feeding the poor or caring for the elderly and widows. Jesus came to change our hearts such that obeying the moral prohibitions would be a matter of expressing our nature, and so with the mandates. I am always struck about by much energy we put into morality when we should be focusing our energy on allowing Jesus to alter our nature such that morality requires no effort. How do we do that?
I think one answers lies in the liberal’s least favorite Bible verse, “For you always have the poor with you…,” But we really should consider the verse in context:
Now when Jesus was in Bethany, at the home of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at the table. But the disciples were indignant when they saw this, and said, “Why this waste? For this perfume might have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed to Me. For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me. For when she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”
In a nutshell, Jesus rebukes the disciples for worrying about the poor and the servants morality towards them instead of focusing on Him. And therein lies the answer to our question – we need to focus on Jesus. Continue Reading