Why are there poor?
Jesus said, “For you have the poor with you always…” Mark 14:7a.
Did Jesus mean we are to care for them all the more? Or to recognize we can never rescue all of the poor? Or does this mean something else completely?
Recently, I was reading the children’s Bible to my son and, in its simplicity, I was suddenly struck by the notion that, like Lazarus, the LORD carries those who have lived wretched lives on earth; they experience comfort and wholeness after their earthly lives have ended.
The LORD, who exists outside of time, knows the purpose for all events and all of our lives. Perhaps the poor exist for themselves to be redeemed in the next life, and for the rich of this world to discover their own wretchedness in the next.
Ready: I believe the insight is that we are to value life, this life, irrespective of what our standard of living is. There is a place for all of us after life on earth, and those who are wretched in this life will be comforted in the next.
How this all works theologically remains somewhat of a mystery to me, as I know that Jesus came to save us all from our sins, and that none of us can see the Kingdom of God except through him. We must be born again by faith in the Son of God, just as Jesus said himself in John 3, if we are to have eternal life. BUT perhaps those in abject poverty are: in their humility, in their suffering, and in their despair, more aware of God, unlike the rich in their prosperity and distraction.
After this life, there is another that goes on for eternity. Perhaps, though Lazarus suffered in this life, God was using the suffering as an opportunity for the wealthy to love and to give. God honoured the poor man into eternity, for his suffering; comfort came to Lazarus. But pain and shame came to the rich man who saw nothing beyond himself while on earth.
Set: If we who have much honour the poor who have little, we are able to be grafted into the honour given to the poor man.
I wonder if this is how God sees the value of suffering? Certainly Jesus suffered on behalf of us all, but perhaps in His wisdom, he gives some of us more opportunity to suffer or to be a comfort to others in this life, in order to grow us for the next.
How will we move forward knowing the poor we will always have with us?
- We will love, in word and deed.
- We will acknowledge with respect and humility.
- We will give as we have been provided for.
And then perhaps we may share in some of the Glory that comes through suffering and hardship.
Go: love, live, enjoy and give.