Read Psalm 10
Focus on verse 2 & 9-10
Who is the true champion of the poor? Is it the person who gives to the poor out of his or her excess? Is it the one who comes alongside the poor and tries to give him or her friendship and hope? How does one best help the poor without seeming to be condescending?
Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you.” His statement certainly rings true in my experience. Perhaps another question to consider is “How do we define poor?” How little does one have to have to qualify as a “poor” person? In America the government declares that a single person who earns less than a certain amount of money is “below the poverty line”. Interestingly, I have lived a good portion of my life under that poverty line, and I have never really felt like I was “poor”. I have also experienced times when I have lived well above that line and I don’t ever recall feeling exceptionally wealthy. On the other hand when I went to visit a third world country, there I felt wealthy. So maybe this poverty thing is relative?
There are people in third world countries whose income is well below what we in America consider the poverty line, yet in their world, they are considered quite wealthy. Recently a former president’s wife who is now running for president herself made the statement that when her and her husband left the Whitehouse after his presidency they were poor. So perhaps poverty is not so much a state of money as it is a state of mind.
I suspect that a person with a poverty mindset will never feel rich no matter how much money they earn or have in their bank account. On the other hand a person understands that as a child of God he or she is an heir of His kingdom… such a person feels blessed to be alive so long as he or she has enough to eat and roof over their head. Perhaps this mindset of poverty or wealth has more to do with what we trust in than with what we claim to own.
The Psalmist writes “In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor;” (v. 2) he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket; he lurks that he may seize the poor; he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.” (v. 9-10)
America has a problem with poverty, and it is getting more serious especially in large city ghettos where people are increasingly dependent on government handouts. There are some who claim that the remedy to the problem is to increase the government handouts to raise the income of the poor so that they can have a better life. So far that methodology has not worked. What truly helps the poor is when they are given a genuine opportunity and some kind of motivation to succeed. What truly helps the poor is when they realize that poverty is a mindset, or perhaps even a heart condition rather than a money condition. To break out of the cycle of poverty it take a change of heart, and to my knowledge the only One I know who can change the heart of a human is the One who made us.
“Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted.” The only permanent way out of poverty is the path that leads through heart change. Heart change involves repentance for being a rebel and choosing to submit to God’s principles of living. It works every time. It may not result in a massive bank account overnight, but it will change the way a person feels about what he or she does have.
God is the champion of the poor. When we refuse to allow Him to have access to our life we choose a life of poverty for ourselves no matter how large our bank account might be.