We’ve all heard it ad nauseum, “The rich keep getting richer while the poor keep getting poorer.” It’s the big gun of the class warfare arsenal that politicians & pundits love to throw out to denigrate the prosperous in order to paint the poor as victims, most generally so the poor will vote for them or their side. I suppose there is a grain of truth to it, but creating victimhood is no way to begin finding a solution. Still, I expect no less from professional (or do I mean perpetual?) politicians.
Sounds snotty doesn’t it? Notice I attached neither a political party nor a political ideology to it. That omission was deliberate. But I digress.
So, as Christians we are commanded throughout scripture to help the poor. I am under no delusion that we do a great job of it as a whole body, but some do it well, and others at least make an effort. Some do it quietly, and some make sure everyone knows what they are doing for God. I have been guilty of the latter. But either way, the poor are still being ministered to.
But there is still a big problem.
I think many of us have bought into “The rich keep getting richer while the poor keep getting poorer” blame game. We come to resent “Big Oil” or “Big Green” or “Big Union” or “Big Government” (or all of them together) because we deem their leadership “greedy” with their “insane” profits and “price gouging.” We Christians often tow the same lines, and even take it one step further, turning on ourselves and blaming the church for not taking care of the poor and handing over that responsibility to the government. It’s always someone else’s fault, whether the “rich” or the powerful.
We blame, we finger-point, and in doing so we help to keep the class warfare fire stoked. As long as we Christians keep doing this, there will continue to be a class war.
What if, while we minister to the poor, we do so quietly.
Matthew 6:1-4 (NASB)
1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
2 “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
What if, instead of exclusively reaching out to the poor, we also went to the rich and powerful, and shared the gospel with them also? How are they going to stop being full of the greed we accuse them without Christ? Have we become so self-righteous as to believe that only we and the poor deserve forgiveness and not all people everywhere?
Matthew 28:19-20 (NASB)
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
What part of “all” do we not understand?
I read Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand about a year ago, and he said something that stuck with me.
He pleaded with the reader to share the Gospel with the rich and the powerful because it is they who make policies. (I will double-check I read that right and properly cite later.) He wrote:
“We must win rulers, leaders in politics, economics, science, and the arts. They mold the souls of men. Winning them, you win the people they lead and influence.”
The divide between rich and poor will only grow unless we share Jesus with all people and not exclusively the poor.
1. Wurmbrand, R. (1998). Tortured for Christ – 30th Anniversary Ed. Living Sacrifice Book Company: Bartlesville, OK. pg 59