It was near the close of Jesus ministry that Jesus defended a woman who poured expensive anointment on him preparing him for his death. Some thought the anointment could have been sold and the money given to the poor. Jesus told them that they always have the poor with them and “whenever you want, YOU (my emphasis) can do good for them.” (Mark 14:3-9)
If you have been listening to the campaign ads, how many times have you heard the poor mentioned in comparison to promises to help the middle class. I can only surmise that Jesus was wrong about having the poor always with us. Apparently the war on poverty was a success and we no longer have any poor among us. Or could it be something else, such as the poor don’t vote in the same numbers as the middle class?
Listening to the campaign ads we should rewrite parts of scripture. Jesus parable in Luke 16 would read, “There was a rich man…and at his gate was a middle class man named Lazarus.”
Isaiah 61:1 …”The Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the middle class.”
Psalm 41:1 “Blessed is the one who considers the middle class…”
In Luke 19:1-9 After Jesus invites the rich tax collector, Zacchaeus, to come down from the tree, because he wants to eat at his house, Zacchaeus joyfully declared, “Behold, Lord, half my goods I give to the middle class.”
By the numbers: According to my concordance, the word, “poor” is used 178 times in the bible. “Middle” is used 32 times. “Middle Class” is used 0.
Thankfully, St. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 8:9, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor so that you by his poverty might become rich.”
Jesus didn’t die a poor man so that we could all live a middle class life. He died and rose again so that we could be rich in his grace and have life in abundance, regardless if one is poor, middle class or wealthy.
Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs in the kingdom of heaven.”
In an old confession of sins we prayed,
“O almighty God, merciful Father, I a poor miserable sinner, confess unto Thee all my sins and iniquities…”
Peter reminds us in his first letter 1:18-19, “That you were ransomed form the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ.”
With the preponderance of scripture on the side of the poor, we would do well not to be taken in by pandering false promises, but ponder how we might bring God’s promises in Christ to the poor, including well being in this life.