It has always been interesting to me that Jesus told his disciples that the poor would always be with us. Was this Jesus the fatalist or Jesus the realist? What does this even mean for us as Christians?
Through the small body of knowledge I have about economics and poverty, I have arrived at the conclusion that Jesus was right and perhaps he was just being a realist.
I do not think we can end poverty at the global level. As long as we are selfish, we won’t be able to end poverty. We want the poor to have some riches, but we don’t want to give up our riches. How does this work? I don’t think it does.
Rather than give an explanation and bring hard data for my claim (which I might not even have), I want to think and come up with a reason why we should help the poor. Moreover, are we supposed to help them get out of poverty? And if there will always be poor, why should we even bother?
I don’t want to offer answers at the moment, although I do have some thoughts I’d like to share later.
For now, think about what Jesus read when he stood up at the synanogue right before he began his life of ministry:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:18-21 NIV)
How are we to understand this in light of John 12:8? Was Jesus merely referring to the spiritual life of a person or to the material needs as well?