Helping the poor has always been a part of Christianity. It was the Christians who shared their money with those who had none. It was the Christians who opened hospitals, and orphanages. It was the Christians who spearheaded every social program that benefited the poor.
The poor are those who have little or no money and barely subsist. They lack the basic necessities of life, and their existence is hindered by a lack of enough food, clothing, shelter and medical care.
There are many factors that contribute to poverty. One of the biggest problems for the poor is that they have no employment or means of subsistence, they often live in areas where there are few natural resources or means to use those resources. Some of the poor immigrate to other areas where there are more opportunities.  A tactic of the peace corps is to develop the resources that the poor have so that they can become self-sufficient.
Is taking care of the poor something a Christian should participate in? Yes most definitely. In the judgment of the goats and the sheep, Jesus tells the goats I was hungry and you fed me not, I was a stranger and you took me not in. Obviously God wants us to take care for the poor.
God has promised us blessing if we help the poor, giving to the poor is like lending to God and God always pays back with a generous interest. You will not become poor by giving to the poor.
Then why have I always been against giving money directly to the poor. First of all it is ok to give food, clothing and shelter to the poor; I am all for those actions, but money is a different matter. I think that money should be given to organizations that help the poor, for most of them can use the money in a more effective manner.
The poor do not always use the money in the best manner possible; that is one of the reasons why they are poor. The poor often misuse or waste their resources for they often lack the knowledge of how to use or allocate their resources properly. They need resources and also education on using those resources to the best advantage.
The Israelites were commanded to give to their poor brother to provide for his needs. The early church raised collections for the poor saints at Jerusalem. They had a ministry to help the poor widows; this ministry was administered by seven deacons. And they often had things in common.
Having things in common is actually a wise use of resources. If a group of people buys one hammer for the whole group, then whenever someone needs to use the hammer, they can simply borrow it from the communal tool box. Of course this only works if the resources are used infrequently and everyone returns what they borrow.
Some may say that this sounds like communism or socialism, well nope. God has always cared for the poor. In the Old Testament God instituted many rules that protected the poor and prevented their starvation. The law allowed the poor to glean in the harvest field. The law forbad the harvesters from gleaning the field or taking every single grape from the vineyards, they were to leave something for the poor. Yet the poor were prohibited from abusing this system; they had to follow certain rules.
The church cannot push the issue of the poor to the government; it must do its part. Every denomination and church of a decent size must have a ministry to the poor. Show me a church that has no ministry to help the poor and I'll show you a church that is not following the example of the Apostolic Church.
Some heartless people say that the poor are poor because they want to be poor. This is utter nonsense, who wants to be poor? Who wants to be hungry and lack things? Even the laziest person will work in order to avoid starvation. No one wants to be poor or chooses the lifestyle of the poor.
The poor are poor because of circumstances in life. They have problems created by socioeconomic factors. Factories closing and moving overseas, abusive employers who don't want to pay a fair living wage and keep their employees in poverty, lack of skills, lack of opportunity, diseases, disabilities, and other factors.
Yes there are some people who are lazy or have an aversion to work; while others are spenders and wasters who cannot keep a penny in their pocket. Unfortunately these people are so dumb they fail to realize that they being poor is all their fault.
Even if a person is poor because of the bad choices made, are we going to leave that person in the hole. Would we leave a dumb animal in the hole that it fell by accident? Would we leave a man that fell into a literal hole in it since he wasn't paying attention when he fell inside? Or would we at least throw a rope to let him pull himself out.
Yes some will say that I am advocating socialism, I reject such a false accusation, for I am a fervent believer in the capitalistic system. I believe in capitalism and free enterprise. I believe that all employers have a right to make a profit; they took the risks of creating a business and should reap a reward. There is nothing wrong with making money, for without money we would all starve, so no I am never against productivity and sound financial investments.
So yes I am for profit, but with all that said, my question is, at what price must the profit be achieved? Is it ok to force an employee into near starvation and wearing of rags? Is it ok to lay off thousands of people and move the factory offshore? Is it OK to cause massive misery in order to get a few dollars more?
Could not the rich man at least give some of the crumbs from his table to Lazarus? How much profit is it needed before the greedy multi-millionaire employers say it is enough?
Is it ok to treat an employee like a lemon and squeeze the last bit of sweat from the employee and then throw him out without a pension in his old age?
Well the usual retort is, if the employees do not like what the pay is they can look for another job. Well that sounds so simple, but it isn't; there is a cost involved in looking for another job, not to mention the fact that in some towns there is basically only one big employer.
There was an excellent book called "Christians in an age of hunger" written by Donald J Sider, which clearly describe many of the responsibilities of the Christian toward the poor and some actions that could be taken to alleviate the problem of poverty. It took ten years for anyone to come with a book that attempted to refute his ideas, yet the attempt failed miserable. Yes some of Sider’s ideas sounded anti-capitalist, but I recon he had a lot of good points.
There are different levels of poverty. Some are totally destitute and without any means or unable to earn a living. This is the bottom of the poor. Many of them are disabled and are unable to move, they have no one to care for them. Others are mentally unstable, some from mental illness others from drugs or alcohol and they live in the streets. They seldom clean up and even eat out of garbage cans.
Then at the other end is what is called the working poor. These are people who have one or even two jobs, but their earnings are barely enough to cover their living expenses. One emergency or financial mistake and they could end up in the street homeless.
Jesus said that the poor will always be with us; and there are many things that prevent a solution to poverty. One of the roadblocks is the greediness of people. Our world system is based on the love of money, which is the root of all evil. Some will blame the capitalist system for such poverty.  I don't blame capitalism, for this system is much better than communism but pure capitalism has its faults. Under Capitalism there are rich and poor, so the rich are able to help the poor. At least under capitalism the rich can be made to feel guilty and out of guilt give some crumbs to the poor. But under Communism everyone is equally poor, so no one can help anyone, no matter if they wanted to.
The blame rests on the love of money that people have. This love of money breeds corruption and all kinds of evil deeds. Greedy people will seek to take advantage of their position in order to make money.
It is a shame that America will give billions of dollars to dictators in other countries, and another bunch to greedy corporations in corporate welfare. When that money could be better used to give business loans to the poor and training so that they could start their own business with some guidance and then they would be self-sufficient instead of always depending on a welfare check. Yes some of the business will fail, but others will succeed so the government is bound to come ahead.
In other countries people do micro-lending to the poor in order to help them start their own business. Why can we not do the same? We need to develop entrepreneur programs for the poor, where we teach them self-sufficiency and how to create and run their own small business; and them provide them with some seed money.
Another thing that keeps many of the working poor, in that situation is the lack of affordable homes; so they won't have to be victimized by rapacious landlords. There is nothing wrong with landlords renting their property, but most of them rent out to exorbitant prices, they seek to squeeze the renters for all they can.
Presidents of corporations get millions of dollars in bonuses, yet scream to high heaven when a lowly employee asks for a raise. They use every trick in the book and then some to avoid raising the salaries of their employees. Just who do they think did all the work that generated those millions of dollars?
Will the president of burger king go in and flip burgers? Will the president of Disney don in a silly costume and go to entertain children? Will the president of the Hilton hotels go in and clean the guest's toilets? Of course not. The work is done by underpaid and often abused employees who have zero power. It is a shame that many employees work for these rich men and yet their own pay is not enough to cover even the basic necessities.
Another abused group is the poor Christian. Never mind that he works two jobs to get ahead, The "Faith" preachers now tell him he is poor because he doesn't have enough faith. That is a slap in the face of millions of faithful poor Christians who from the beginning of the church formed the core of the church.
From these words you might think that I am against the rich, or that God is against the rich. That is not correct. The Bible mentions some rich people who were fervent followers of God. Men like Abraham, or Job the richest man in the east. Then we have others like David or Solomon the richest king who ever lived. These men of God were loaded with money, yet the Bible say that they were righteous, so no there is nothing wrong with having plenty of cash.
The Bible itself says that it was God who gave them those riches, so it is obvious that God is not against wealth, God is not against his people having gold and silver. In the contrary sometimes he gives it to them. Just look at the Israelites before they left Egypt, God told them to get gold and silver from the Egyptians. They left Egypt loaded with gold and silver, they did not leave with empty pockets.
There is nothing wrong with being rich, but there are problems with being rich. One of them is that there is power in money.  There is always the temptation to cheat people who are powerless. God warned those rich people who would abuse the poor; that he would surely punish those abuses. The apostle James condemned the abusive rich, those who cheat their employees and don't pay them their due wages.
Many people want to be rich the huge profits of the lottery is proof of that. But people sometimes do not understanding that riches could be a hindrance to what is really valuable. The Bible is clear that not many rich will enter into heaven. And it is not because God hates the rich, but because the rich seldom feel the need for God. Yes some rich people will make it into heaven, but they will be a small minority.

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