“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”
— Luke 6:20
God’s concern for the poor is written all over the pages of Scripture. Nearly 500 verses in the Bible express God’s concern for the needy and God’s desire to act on their behalf.
But who are the poor? They are varied, and the Bible has many different words to describe them. Some people are poor because they have no money or wealth. Some are simply dependent on others. Some are poor by choice. Some are poor because of misfortune, and some are poor because of poor decisions they made. Most commonly, the poor are those who are oppressed, suffering not only material poverty but also social poverty from lack of power and opportunity. They are poor, vulnerable, and weak.
God cares for them all. The Bible teaches that God has concern not just for people who are materially poor but also for those who are put down, oppressed, marginalized, shunned, denied opportunity, and overlooked. Again and again the Bible reveals the God who shows the poor his “tender mercies,” offering himself in promises of protection and provision.
Followers of Jesus are called to imitate God’s compassion, care, and mercy, lovingly assisting the poor in whatever ways are required, whether it means helping individuals, revitalizing communities, or working to create a more just and sustainable world.
Jesus, you blessed the poor with your words and your love. Teach us to do the same. Amen.