Luke 4:18-19, “18 The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Poverty is defined as, “lacking the basic things needed to live a healthy life.” The main reason people around the world live in poverty is because they reside in a country with a corrupt government that doesn’t provide clean water, safe roads, good jobs or reliable education. Also, war and economic hardships can cause poverty to occur in any country- regardless of the leadership of the nation.
Some people in the U.S. experience poverty because the area they live in doesn’t have good paying jobs or they experienced a hard time in life (loss of a loved one, a sick family member, unexpected bills, etc.). Sadly, many who live in consistent poverty can suffer from a “poverty mentality” because they have been raised in poverty and think receiving government aid like food stamps and “Section 8 Housing” is normal. In these specific cases they lack motivation to work hard because the government has become their provider.
Sometimes a person will come to the U.S. from another country with no governmental help and because they take any job they can get and work long hours, they surpass the U.S. citizen who has received thousands of dollars of monthly support. Why? They had a “get-it-done-mentality” instead of a “give-it-to-me-for-free-mentality.”
Everyone can relate to poverty in one way- spiritually. All of us were broke because of sin and Jesus paid our debt. Now because of Jesus we can work hard and receive His blessings in our lives!
In today’s passage, Jesus quoted from Isaiah 61 in regards to His Messianic duty. One of Jesus’ duties was to preach good news to the poor and show them the Father’s love. He was called to reach out to those who had been forgotten and neglected by society. The gospel (or “good news”) to a person living in poverty is that God will save them and give His kingdom blessings without holding their economic class against them (Matthew 6:33). Classism is a sinful way of treating people according to the “social class” they are in based on their monetary value. However, according to Jesus, all people, especially the poor are important to Him.
Therefore, all disciples should stand against poverty in the following three ways; (1) Preach the gospel to the poor so they might be saved and have God’s kingdom blessings upon their life. (2) Help educate and assist those who live in poor conditions. (3) Treat those living in poverty with the same respect as you would the rich- don’t live with classism (James 2:1-9).
Do you believe Jesus loves the poor just as much as the rich?
- Explain from the Bible why we should help those living in poverty.
- Pray for God to end poverty in the community you live in and through missionaries around the world. A wise man once said, “Prayer and hard work are God’s answer to poverty.”
- Resources: “With Justice For All,” by John Perkins and “Always Enough,” by Roland & Heidi Baker.
One Year Reading Plan
Hosea 4:1-5:15, 2 John 1:1-13, Psalm 125:1-5, & Proverbs 29:9-11. Click here to read online.