Missiology Through Scripture – Deuteronomy 15:10-11

“You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’” – Deuteronomy 15:10-11

The concept that there “will never cease to be poor” flies in the face of our modern-day secular political, social, and economic crusaders. Some believe the poor are a byproduct of a corrupt economic system which purposefully oppresses the poor in order to prop up the rich. Others hypothesize the poor are a result of their own laziness or lack of drive. Here, Scripture affirms no man-made social-wellness program will ever succeed in eliminating poverty. Neither trickle-down economics, nor social welfare is the answer. God makes perfectly clear, poverty will never be abolished.

All of our man-made social and economic systems are flawed because they are orchestrated and administered by sinners. No scheme or structure of man is worthy of complete submission. Only God’s direction for humanity will ever correct the ills of mankind. Don Carson said, “It reflects the grim reality that no economic system can guarantee the abolition of poverty, because human beings operate it, human beings are greedy, human beings will keep tweaking and eventually perverting the system for personal advantage.”[1] Political parties, and social causes do not have the answer and are not worthy of being followed when compared to the eternal answers found in Jesus Christ.

The poor exist, and always will. Their lowly state provides a litmus test of obedience for God’s elect. His disciples are instructed to not only serve the poor, needy, and fellow believers but to do so generously. The poor provide a way for God’s chosen to demonstrate a unique form of mercy and justice found only in Christ. No social system or government program can’t out love or be more generous than God. Jesus Christ is the ultimate safety-net and perfect security for those who are lacking. Christians are to serve the poor from a position of love and joy and not slavish obligation.


[1] D. A. Carson, For the Love of God: A Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word., vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998).