Christianity and Helping the Poor
In Deuteronomy 15.11, God says to the Israelites, "I command you to be open handed toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land." (New International Version) God commanded the Israelites to help the poor and intended for Christians to take this as an example and follow it. The Israelites were God's people in the Old Testament and Christians, including those from Israel, are God's people. As this is read from the Bible, all that is thought of is that we are people of God and that we need to take God's commands seriously and to heart. Why, how, and how much should the needy be helped? Take a look at some examples and we can see what God commands us to do with the needy.
While helping to support the needy, it is important to remember to not just give things to people who are less fortunate than others, but to "assist" them in doing things that they may want or need to do.
This can be done by showing others our love for them and our love for God by our actions more than our words. But someone may say, "One person has faith, another has actions." My answer is, "Show me how anyone can have faith without actions. I will show you my faith by my actions." (James. 2.18, Today's English Version) Showing faith by actions would be to help out someone in need with a smile on our face and not complaining about it later. "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Cor. 9.7,
Physically helping the poor may be very demanding for most people. One way to look at helping the poor and having the amounts being nice to look at is to do what God says in the Bible. "Every Sunday each of you must put aside some money, in proportion to what you have earned, and save it up so that there will be no need to collect money when I come." (1 Cor. 16. 2-3,
Helping does not harm the poor. In Hardin's essay he makes the point,"We must ask if such a program would actually do more good than harm, not only momentarily but also in the long run." He is talking about the World Food Bank and how he believes that people are taking advantage of it instead of using it as a resource. In some cases the Food Bank is being taken advantage of, but that does not mean that it is doing harm to people who do not need it. It is helping out the poor, and some others who may not need the food as much, but that is what it is there for. "You think that this will harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." (Gen. 50.20,
When thinking of others, do not only consider them as equals to you, but also treat them with love. In Matt. 7.1-2 God says, "Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, for God will judge you in the same way that you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others." (
"Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth, love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail." (1 Cor. 13. -7,
"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9.7,
As this paper comes to an end, it reminds ourselves why, how and how much we should help the poor. It has been evident that the bible verses and arguments that have to do with showing the faith of God by helping, considering equality of others as they are helping, being unselfish while giving and not boasting, and also giving as a cheerful giver and not out of obligation. As these points were shown to you, it has hopefully been easy to see the reasons why, how, and how much we should give to the needy. Remember God says, "I command you to be open handed toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land." (Duet. 15.11,