For as long as I can remember, many leaders in the church have said that poverty is a curse, and has never been a part of God’s plan. And yet, as I read the scriptures, and as I look around me, I see that people have been impoverished since man’s fall from grace. Another thing that I’ve noticed is that both good people and bad people live in poverty, which leads me to believe that poverty is not a curse or a punishment for sin, as many in the church have been led to believe.
Poverty was never God’s plan. That is why we have got to talk about this. God never intended us to struggle financially and be in poverty all of our lives. There are seasons, yes we go through tough times and there is hard work getting the foundations down. But it is often our wrong thinking, negative attitudes and bad choices or lack of principled living that causes us to continue the battle in financial areas.
~ Pastor Paul DeJong,
Christian Life Centre
Aukland, New Zealand ~
Have you ever struggled with poverty? Have you ever heard statements like these in church or on Christian TV? I have to tell you, as someone who is struggling with poverty, I don’t find any comfort in these words. As a matter of fact, statements like these don’t increase my faith. They only serve to fill me with more questions, and when I have questions about God’s intentions and His plans, the best and only place to seek answers is in His word…
There will always be some in the land who are poor. That is why I am commanding you to share freely with the poor and with other Israelites in need.
If poverty isn’t a part of God’s plan, why does His word say, “There will always be some in the land who are poor”? If poverty isn’t a part of God’s plan, then why was Jesus, His only begotten Son, born in a stable? If poverty isn’t a part of God’s plan, why was Jesus, who never sinned, homeless?
But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay His head.”
~ Luke 9:58 — NLT ~
All too often, today’s church speaks of poverty as something shameful. I’ve heard it said that those who live in poverty have sinned against God, or that their faith is weak, or that they live in poverty because they don’t tithe or give enough to God (the church), and each time I hear these things, I feel bile rising up from my stomach, because this is not biblical. Such twisted thinking can only come from the dark one, who has infiltrated the church and sown a harvest of lies within her, and sadly, those within the church have bought his lies, hook, line and sinker, because the people foolishly look to their pastors and televangelists as the head of the church, rather than seeking Christ, the true head of the church, and His word. Let’s look and see how God really feels about the poor…
Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.
4 But You are a tower of refuge to the poor, O Lord, a tower of refuge to the needy in distress. You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat. For the oppressive acts of ruthless people are like a storm beating against a wall, 5 or like the relentless heat of the desert. But You silence the roar of foreign nations. As the shade of a cloud cools relentless heat, so the boastful songs of ruthless people are stilled.
Beloved readers, we are living in dark times, and there are many who claim to speak in the name of the Lord, but beware! Some of those leaders that so many look up to, speak with forked tongues, calling good evil, and evil good, and if you simply take the words of others as the gospel, without ever reading or listening to the word of God for yourself, you could be deceived into believing a lie.
My friends, do you know how to be still and listen for the voice of the Lord to speak to you? Do you know His voice? When you give money to a ministry, do you know where that money is going? Does it go to help wealthy televangelists get richer? Does it go to build bigger and larger churches? Does it go to pave the church parking lot? Does it go to pay for special ministers to come and minister? Do you really think this is what pleases God?
“He (Josiah) gave justice and help to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him. Isn’t that what it means to know Me?” says the Lord.
As I read these scriptures, for the most part, I don’t see poverty as a curse or a punishment from God. To be sure, God does punish some with poverty, but not all who live in poverty are cursed or punished, and it’s very obvious that God has great love for the poor.
Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him?
~ James 2:5 — NIV ~
These scriptures show that those who speculate and make judgments against the poor are wrong. Men and women can and do love the Lord and serve Him faithfully, and yet they may be poor or become poor, even though they are walking in His will. To say that poverty has never been a part of God’s plan is a blatant lie, conceived in the black heart of the enemy, and sadly, many in the church have bought into that lie.
“… But it is often our wrong thinking, negative attitudes and bad choices or lack of principled living that causes us to continue the battle in financial areas…”
~ Pastor Paul DeJong,
Christian Life Centre
Aukland, New Zealand ~
Beloved readers, I urge you to examine the scriptures and take note of how important it is to the Lord for us to care for the poor. And please, be careful not to make self-righteous judgments against them. Our physical wealth and comfort are not as important to the Lord as our spiritual health and well-being… Do you remember what Jesus said to the disciples after the rich young man chose to keep his money, rather than to give it away to the poor and follow Christ?
23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 24 I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”
~ Matthew 19:23-24 — NLT ~
Beloved readers, don’t blindly take someone’s word as gospel. Pray and seek wisdom from Holy Spirit, and read the scriptures. We live in a wonderful period of time, where we can search the internet for answers, and read the bible online, and for those who are unable to read, the audio bible is available, so that there is no excuse for anyone to be ignorant.
Therefore, my friends, the next time you hear someone say that poverty is not a part of God’s plan or that it is a curse or a punishment, remember this…
- Jesus was born in a stable to poor peasants, and during the last years of His life, He was homeless.
- Jesus commanded the rich young man to give away all of his wealth to the poor and become poor himself, if he wanted to follow Him.
- The apostle, Paul refused to accept payment for preaching the gospel. (1 Corinthians 9:15-19; Acts 20:29-35)
- When Jesus sent the disciples out to minister, He sent them out with nothing but the clothes on their back. (Mark 6:7-9)
- Many of the early Christians and martyrs boasted of their poverty, such as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Cyprian.
Cheryl A. Showers