“However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today. For the Lord your God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. You will rule over many nations but none will rule over you.
If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need. Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward the needy among your fellow Israelites and give them nothing. They may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.” -Deuteronomy 15:4-11
It’s curious how God tells us that there “need be no poor people among you”. It makes is sound as if we are the ones creating poor people! Which, in a certain way, I guess we are. If every piece of money was evenly distributed to every human, then nobody would be poor. That sounds exactly like communism. And so far in history, communism hasn’t worked out. It seems that if we trust God financially, He will provide. Some people find that hard. But God says to always be openhearted and giving to our fellow Israelites. Are the Israelites only our fellow Christians? Or are they everyone? This passage teaches us how to be financially strong with generous giving, but no debts; this passage is about blessings and strength.
This is another part of my life that I’ve been struggling with a little bit. I do give my tithes and offerings to the church, but I don’t help the poor as much. Would working in a food pantry fill that hole? I feel like just donating money isn’t enough. I guess I’ll start praying to find out.