The Poor

Day 72

Prayer for the day

The LORD, the God of gods, has spoken; he has called the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.

Scripture for the day

Deuteronomy 22-24, Mark 14:1-26

“The poor you will always have with you.” Jesus speaks these words to those around him, letting them know that what the woman is doing, pouring perfume on him, is something that is praiseworthy…they should not be limiting her. He uses this phrase next, saying that the poor will always be among us and we can help them any time we want to.

It would be easy to take this statement of Jesus as dismissive. Jesus could be saying it casually: “the poor will always be here…focus on me. Stop worrying about them so much.” Or he could be saying that it’s a matter of timing and priority. Or, Jesus could be using the time and opportunity to teach. There could be a bit of an edge to his speech. It may well be that these people who seem so concerned with the poor at the moment may not be as aboveboard as they seem.

What if the people around him are being chastised by Jesus for seeming concerned, and for not doing something about the poor on a regular basis? What if these people around him have been neglecting the poor and are only mentioning them now because they don’t understand the extravagance being shown to Jesus.

This care for the poor is supposed to run straight from the First Testament. The people of Israel are commanded to care for one another, usually at the expense of personal gain. God seems determined that this people be formed around something much more important than economic prosperity (at least personal). The poor are with us, the poor always have been with us, yet the economics God designed for the people was supposed to be an equitable one that would limit hardship for the poor and allow everyone to participate in the good God had for the people.

Sounds like something that could still be useful.

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