The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.
Matthew 26:11 (NIV)
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 15:11 (NIV)
Is there a place for extreme material poverty in the kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven”? (What do we mean by “extreme”? Let’s go with living under $2/day.) If your answer is “yes” to that question, it’s a sure sign that you have never personally experienced extreme material poverty. We can agree that we will live with sufficiency and dignity in heaven. Extending the kingdom of heaven to earth means all should live with sufficiency and dignity here as well.
But, you may note, didn’t Jesus Himself say that we will always have the poor among us? Indeed He did, and everyone in that crowd to whom He spoke that day would have been convicted by His words because they knew He was citing Moses’ words from Deuteronomy that command, not suggest, a posture of openhandedness to the materially poor.
We CAN make extreme material poverty history. Whether or not we will all comes down to a simple fork in the road of life that we all face – will we choose to live the self-centric life or the kingdom-centric life? The latter leads to the humble walk with God wherein we learn to love mercy and act justly.
This is the first in the “End Extreme Material Poverty” series of blog posts on our Journey to Palpable Kingdom Presence.