Many people wrestle everyday with grinding poverty. Yet, Jesus did not allow people to use poverty as an excuse for failing to accomplish His purposes. Our Lord said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 5:6) The Savior knew that poverty could be a blessing, never a curse. Jesus said, "The poor you will always have with you." (Mark 14:7) This statement did not reflect a lack of concern for the poor because He cherished their humility. Instead of allowing poverty to be used an excuse for failure to do the will of God, Jesus made the most of whatever He had and encouraged others to do the same. Instead, our Lord knew that everyone who wants to get rich falls into temptation, a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money was the root of all sorts of evil." (I Tim. 6:9,10)
1. Jesus taught His disciples to focus on doing His will before worrying about daily necessities. It sounds strange, but the Lord wants us to have our priorities correct. Jesus told His disciples, "Do not worry about what you will eat or drink or what kind of clothing you will put on. Look at the birds of the air. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? But seek first His kingdom and righteousness and all of these things will be added to you as well." (Matt. 6:30-33)
2. Jesus commended the harlot who anointed his feet with expensive perfume because He looked at her heart’s motivations. Simon and his fellow Pharisees criticized Jesus for allowing the woman to annoint Christ’s feet. They suggested that the perfume could have been sold and the money used for the temple. Yet, Jesus realized that when people want to express their love and worship for God arguing about the price of gifts is left up to the individual giver.
3. Jesus knew that laziness contributes to poverty as much as anything. The Lord and His disciples could never be accused of being complacent, lazy or loiterers. Jesus knew that righteous people who try to earn a good living are generally blessed of God with adequate provisions.
4. Jesus knew that many poor people are rich toward God. Perhaps this is one reason why Jesus did not seek to eradicate poverty while He walked the dusty roads of Palestine.
5. Jesus knew that it was better to be poor and maintain one’s dignity in honest employment than to gain riches deceitfully. The Lord commended many ordinary people for their honest hard work insisting that to be poor towards God was far worse.
6. Jesus encouraged one rich man to give of his many possessions to the poor. The Lord knew that there are certain people in society that occasionally need special assistance. However, He did not make a call for social equality as He recognized there would always be people of different abilities to manage money.
7. Jesus invited the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind to enjoy His blessings when the rich refused His invitations to dine with Him. The Lord saw that dependence on earthly wealth often makes people too proud to depend on the God for the true riches of a relationship with Him.
8. Jesus commended the poor widow for giving all that she had. The Lord realized that the quality of our giving is measured in the proportion of what we actually own. In this sense, the Good Shepherd provided the poor with a special means of looking forward to receiving great riches in heaven for their meager gifts.
9. Jesus commended people for giving to the poor, but His priorities involved introducing people to the new birth, discipling people and building His church. Ministering to human need should be done out of a God like love that seeks to draw people into a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.
10. Jesus knew that giving great things to the poor without doing it out of an attitude of love is futile. The Lord knew that many people give to the poor only to appease their guilty consciences.
11. Realize that there are always people God keeps in reserve who will gladly support those who are willing to do the will of God. God’s will done in God’s way will not lack God’s supporters! Jesus told the disciples, "Do not take a purse or bag or sandals when you go out to preach. When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him, Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you for the worker deserves His wages." (Luke 10:1-7)