By   •   December 13, 2006   •   Topics:


Is it true that Jesus said we will always have poverty in the world? What did He mean by that? Does this mean we shouldn't even try to help people who are poor? I thought Christians were supposed to help people in need.


You’re probably thinking of Jesus’ words in John 12:8: “You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” His words were directed at Judas (who would soon betray Him), admonishing him because he was more interested in getting money for himself than in serving Jesus.

But Jesus wasn’t saying we shouldn’t fight poverty or help those in need–not at all. He was only giving a description of the way the world actually is, not the way it should be. The Bible repeatedly commands us to help the needy, and condemns those who take advantage of the poor. God told His people in the Old Testament, “I command you to be openhanded toward … the poor and needy in your land” (Deuteronomy 15:11). Jesus told His disciples to “Sell your possessions and give to the poor” (Luke 12:33).

You and I live in the most prosperous society the world has ever seen–and yet hunger, homelessness and poverty are still a tragic reality for millions every day. At least half the world’s population lives on the edge of survival because of the effects of poverty. How can we remain indifferent to their plight?

Ask God to show you ways you can help those whose lives are crushed by poverty. In addition, don’t forget the greatest poverty of all–which is poverty of soul. Is Christ the center of your life, and are you seeking to tell others about the peace and joy He brings to all who open their hearts to Him?

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  1. Carlos Garza says:

    Every single church in this country should unite to help the poor and the homeless. Where is the Christian leadership? The man in the mirror is me.

  2. Tony says:

    There truly will always be the poor. It’s not God’s desire but it is factual. Many times when we don’t follow Christ we make poor decisions that sabotage our lives.

  3. Alexander Gietsel says:

    I did enjoy the Bible verses and the comments.

  4. Tricia Cowden says:

    I keep hearing my Christian friends citing Jesus statement about there always being poor… And using this to justify not helping the poor
    Thanks I can now send this wonderful response.

  5. Carolyn Goins says:

    I truly enjoy this writing. It open up the way I was thinking regarding the scripture. I now believe that I can help change the plight of the poor and it is my duty to do so. Praise God.

  6. William Vogel says:

    As we help people who are poor, we should get a better appreciation of their humanity, which we often overlook. We, people offering a blessing, become more appreciative and blessed.

  7. Ralph Hathaway says:

    I am currently writing a reflection on Poverty which is a follow-up to one before it. In it I mention the terrible conditions of poverty in America and have empathy for so many disenfranchised persons who have so few who care enough to eradicate the problems of modern societies disregard for them. We live at a time where this nation should not be sending children to school with not lunch pails, and returning home to find themselves alone because single mothers must try to earn a small pittance for a days work and still can not keep their families fed, let alone warm in winter. I am certain I am not alone with these thoughts and share the spiritual needs for not just prayer but the action of each one of us. Prayers to God are answered!

  8. ImaJean says:

    You speak so simple for us to fully understand those words thank you

  9. charles wagner says:

    thank you for that tremendous insight!

  10. ricky bullock says:

    your right really didn’t get a full understanding the term you will always have the poor among you but you’ll not always have me such a statement that can touch the soul and heart in a convicting way.