“What does the Bible say about being poor?”The Bible has a lot to say about being poor. In many places, Scripture portrays poor people as having been blessed, while many who are rich are seen in a negative light. Jesus Himself was poor, not having a home or a place “to lay his head” Matthew 8:2020 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”. The disciples and most of Jesus’ followers were poor, at least in worldly terms, but rich in spiritual wealth. The disciples even left all they had to follow Him, giving up all they owned, placing their full trust in Him to provide what they needed. Jesus said the poor will always be with us Matthew 26:1111 Forzyou always have the poor with you, but ayou will not always have me.There is no shame in being poor. Our attitude should be that of the writer in Proverbs who said, Proverbs 30:8“Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread”The rich, on the other hand, are generally portrayed negatively in the Bible. Wealth itself is seen as a detriment to those who desire to enter the kingdom of God. Jesus talks a lot about the woes of being rich and the blessings of being poor. For example, in the scene where He interacted with the rich young ruler, He declares: “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”Mark 10:2323 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” In fact, He repeated this statement in the very next verse to emphasize the reality of what He just said. Why did He make such a shocking statement? Because the rich tend to trust in their “riches” more than in God. Wealth tends to pull us away from God.The story of the rich man and Lazarus displays clearly the temporary nature of riches. Luke 16:19-31The Rich Man and Lazarus 19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in epurple and fine linen and fwho feasted sumptuously every day.20 And at his gate gwas laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,21 who desired to be fed with hwhat fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores.22 The poor man died and was carried by ithe angels jto Abraham’s side.6 The rich man also died and was buried,23 and in kHades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and lsaw Abraham far off and Lazarus jat his side.24 And he called out, m‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for oI am in anguish in this flame.’25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house—28 for I have five brothers7—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’29 But Abraham said, ‘They have qMoses and the Prophets; rlet them hear them.’30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear qMoses and the Prophets, tneither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’ ”
The rich man enjoyed great luxury in life, but spent eternity in hell because of his greed and covetousness. Lazarus suffered the indignities of extreme poverty, but was comforted in heaven forever. Jesus Himself left His throne in heaven in order to take on the lowly form of a poor man. Paul said of Him,2 Corinthians 8:9 “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich”At some point, as Christians we must ask ourselves: What are we really doing here in this temporary place? Where is our heart Luke 12:3434 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Are we really denying ourselves? Are we really giving sacrificially as did the poor widow? To follow Jesus is to take up our cross. This means to literally give our total lives to Him, unencumbered by the riches of this world. As Jesus put it in the parable of the sower, Matthew 13:22“The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful”It is those thorns, “the worries of this life” and the “deceitfulness of wealth,” the not-so-subtle tools of Satan, that lure us away from God and His Word. In essence, the Scriptures paint for us a vast contrast between those who are poor yet rich in Christ and those who are rich yet without God.