Posted by: davidlarkin | May 28, 2017

Consider the Poor and the Needy

The drawing here is by Rembrandt (1606-1669). It is considered to be the one of the first portrayals of beggars as humble and decent people in need. That is the proper charitable attitude to have for the poor, even knowing that there are those among the poor who are mentally ill lacking social skills, or who are sadly brought up with poor character so difficult to correct.

With President Trump’s proposed budget seeking to take from the poor and give to the rich, i.e. cuts to food stamps (SNAP program providing food to 43 million poor Americans, 2/3 of which are children, elderly or disabled) and other social safety net programs to pay for tax cuts for the rich, it is fitting to consider, especially for the Christian Right, the duty to take care of the poor set forth in Scripture.

Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker,
but he who is generous to the needy honors him.

Proverbs 14:31 (ESV)

Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.

Luke 6:30 (ESV) 

Scripture also supports the duty of government to care for the poor and needy, The “king” is government. Here from Psalm 72:1-4, 12-14:

Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to the royal son!
May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice!
Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness!
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the children of the needy,
and crush the oppressor!
. . .

For he delivers the needy when he calls,
the poor and him who has no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
From oppression and violence he redeems their life,
and precious is their blood in his sight.

Here is a prayer for the needy composed Miles Lowell Yates, 1890-1956, followed by a prayer for the poor and homeless my wife and I have added to our daily devotionals:

For the Needy

Oh God, look upon those who are in need but cannot work, or who lack employment and search for it in vain; on those who struggle to meet exacting claims with inadequate resources; on all who move in insecurity, attended by worry or despair.

Stand by them, O God, in their deprivations, their dilemmas, and guide them as they try to solve their problems; let them come to open doors of opportunity or refuge; and so quicken and extend the world’s concern for all its people that every man may be ensured a livelihood and safety from the bitterness of want; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Miles Lowell Yates

And this is the prayer my wife and I have added to our morning devotions:

Prayer for the Poor and Homeless

God of compassion, You love the poor and the homeless so much that you came to earth as a poor child and lived as a homeless man. We pray for all the poor and homeless in our community; open our eyes to ways we can serve. We ask you to draw near to the needy and comfort them, and bless them with work, shelter, food, health care and friendship. Most of all, we pray that they would come to know you by Your grace, as Lord and Savior, and see You as the source of everything. Amen.

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