Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Poor You Always Have With You

"And while He was in Bethany at the home of Simon he leper, and relining at table, there came a woman with an alabaster vial of costly perfume of pure nard; and she broke the vial and poured it over His head. But some were indignantly remarking to one another, "For what purpose has this perfume been wasted? For this perfume might have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor." And they were scolding her. But Jesus said, 'Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me. For the poor you always have with you, and whenever you wish, you can do them good; but you do not always have Me.'" Mark 14:5-7

I've wanted for a while to write about Jesus' statement about the poor always being with us. A friend once talked about this to me, that it was a hard statement. Why are there poor people and why would they always exist?

First, why are some people poor? Some people are born poor and have no way out of their poverty. Some people are poor because they are stupid and cannot hang onto wealth. Some people are poor because others have stolen from them. Some people are poor because others have mismanaged their money. Some people are poor because their government makes them poor through bad policies. And, some people are poor because God's providence makes them poor.

I'm a firm believer that sin is the largest determiner of people being poor. Not necessarily the sins of the poor themselves, but any sin. God gave Adam and his descendants the whole world to rule over, but because of sin, the world is cursed, and most people are poor.


  1. I know our Constitution says all men are created equal. But we really are not. If we were we would all have the same intelligence but we don't. A lot of time people are poor because of poor choices they made in their life. Such as dropping out of school at 16 or getting pregnant at 17. Choosing drugs and getting addicted.

    Sometimes intelligence don't guarantee a good income because they lack common since (wisdom). I agree we will always have poor with us.

  2. If you want to know about poverty - talk to the poor for clarification - this is wisdom.

    Poverty, as a condition, is due to the inequalities within society that have creaed this condition. Capitalism in and of itself is absolutely dreadful in this aspect. Before that was colonialism. Before that conquering and slavery - even massacres. But all in all - societies were set up for a very long time to bolster one group while denigrating the resources of another.

    The poor will always be with us - and thank God - they speak to us about past conditions we may not like to acknowledge even existed.

    I would say Pilgrim's answer was good - but only on an individualistic level - whereas a lot of the groups subjugated in society are communal peoples and have been put there (due to choices outside their autonomy). But to learn this you need to meet these people and interact in their convo's - the world is bigger in the ghetto's than one thinks.

    I met a poor person at the 7-11 yesterday - and I stopped and shook his hand - gave him a smoke - since he asked. I felt good knowing him and knowing that can easily be me (and in some senses is me) had it not been for some fortunate circumstances along the way. I causes in me humility but also a compassion for the person's position in life.