On one occasion Jesus made this statement: “Ye have the poor with you always.” (Mark 14:7) It is so obviously true. Even in a land as prosperous ours. Even with our fifty some years of war on poverty, still it has not been completely eradicated from our own land. But not only is there the ever-present poor in the world – we have an ever-present responsibility to help.
A while back as I stopped by a drug story to pick up some medicine, a young lady asked me for help. Usually in Winston-Salem those who stand at traffic lights to ask for help, have a badge indicating that the person has been cleared by the authorities to ask for alms. This lady, however, had no badge. So before helping her I ask the druggist if he knew her. He did not but he made a statement which has stuck with me. He said, “If that’s her way of making a living, it would be okay to give her a couple of dollars.” I know one or two of those who stand on the corners with a sign asking for help. And I know personally that some of them at least work when they can get work. And when there is no work, asking alms is their only means of livelihood.
How should we view the poor? Some of them at least are doing the best that they can. We should see them as a real opportunity to practice true religion. Remember the Proverb: “He that hath pity upon the poor lends unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will be paid him again.” (Proverb 19:17)