On Rich and Poor Part 2

Several days ago I posted a quote by St. John Chrysostom regarding the relationship between the rich and the poor. One thing we need to remember about Church fathers, and even Scripture to a certain point, is these were written to a particular people at a particular time in history. I received a few comments on the post but this one stands out:
I agree with St John Chrysostom “The duty of the rich is to share the harvest of their fields with all who work in them and with all in need.” The question I have is this not should we share (we should) but how should we share?
This is the eternal question. I am a firm believer that we cannot make people give. Forced charity is not charity at all charity needs to come from the heart. We have a Christian duty to help those who are less fortunate than us. Jesus constantly teaches that we must love one another. We cannot love someone and stand by and watch them suffer we have to help, that is if we are Christians.
So what do we do? Those of us who are preachers of the Gospel need to constantly remind our people about what is expected of us, and we as the church need to provide opportunities to help those less fortunate than us.
In the 12th chapter of the Gospel of St. Luke Jesus relates the parable of the servants waiting for the master to return. In the 48th verse of this chapter we read these words, “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”
In these times of uncertainty, it is easy for us to look at those with much and think like Robin Hood and require the wealthy to provide more. That’s OK if they are willing, to do anything else would be well unChristian!


  1. I've heard this argument before. It always leaves out a very important point. What do the poor do while they're waiting to see if the rich will become converted enough to give away their wealth? What happens to the poor when the philosophy of Ayn Rand takes hold of people, and they continue to hold onto their wealth while simultaneously tearing down what puny social safety net we have now? Are the poor to suffer, sometimes to the point of death, so that we don't have to make the rich angry by taxing them?

  2. Well then, we have a bigger problem. Further, many churches can barely keep their lights on-I dare say they cannot meet the massive social safety net needs we have in this country. I know of no institution in this country big enough to meet these needs other than the government.

  3. Well Chrysostom was not speaking about the government or any thing other then the rich folks supporting the poor folks that was all. However the larger problem as you mention is caused becasue we have way too many poeple on gov assistance.
    The welfare system was designed to be a safety net not a lifestyle. Here in my small town we have four generations on welfare and no incentive to get off. And Churches have an obligation to sipport the poor lights on or not. There have been many months that we have gone without here so we could keep our meals going. If more churches worries less about building expansion and more about loving their neighbors it would all work out.

  4. The world view that sees the government – any government other than God's – as the only institution capable of meeting the needs of the poor is truly disturbing. Being poor is not a license to not work. Poverty in the USA is wealth by most international standards. Having witnessed first hand true poverty in South East Asia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Philippines, Central and South America, South Carolina, East Los Angeles, perhaps a redefinition of poverty may be helpful.

    We simply must do what Christ required. "We" must do it. Not rely on some obese, ingrown, grotesque government bureaucracy to be called onto the field of spiritual service and obedience. They don't qualify. Their record is abysmal.

    Ask God what you should do and where. Then go do it. It is our personal response to the poor and to God's directive that is essential. As Christ said, "The poor you have with you always." So, what will we do?

    Surely not rely on government. Perhaps trust the Holy Spirit's still small voice and be obedient.

Comments are closed.

error: Content is protected !!