Alfred Place Baptist Church

An Aside from Sunday Morning’s Sermon

Mark 14:7 — ‘The poor you will always have with you’

Let me take this opportunity to make a stand against anyone who has twisted this verse and used it as an excuse not to give to the poor.

Jesus says in verse 7, ‘The poor you will always have with you’ and I’ve heard this verse abused. I’ve heard people say, “Don’t bother giving to the poor because Jesus said we’ll always have the poor, so what’s the point giving to them?”

Or to take the policy further… “the most important thing is worshipping Jesus so don’t ever waste your time giving to the poor”. Is that what this passage is saying? No.

Jesus says the poor will always be with us, yes. And that is an important reality stated. So Oxfam’s aggressive statement, ‘we won’t live with poverty’ is perhaps too far, it’s not taking into account that this statement has been made by Christ. And yet on the other hand, Jesus does say, ‘you can help them any time you want.’ And I think implied within that is, “Help the poor! Yes! Don’t neglect the poor.”

Do we se elsewhere in the Bible that it is good to help the poor? Well throughout the gospels we read that Jesus is good news for the poor. And it’s also worth noting Deuteronomy 15, where God gives detailed instructions on how to help the poor by cancelling their debts every seven years. So there is an emphasis in scripture on caring for the poor. No Christian who is not generous has any excuse.

So, what I’m saying is, just because Jesus says, “the poor you will always have with you” it should never be used as an excuse to not help the poor.