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The official number of poor people in our country currently stands at 46 million. The Census arrives at that figure. It is based on a family of four with an annual income of $22,000 or less. The causes of poverty are many: a lack of jobs, lack of education, physical and mental disabilities, and single-parent families — to name only a few reasons. One commentator sums up the reasons by saying poverty stems primarily from inequality — social, racial, and economic. Whatever the cause, the Bible is quite clear that God is concerned about the poor. Hundreds of Bible texts call us to care for them. Not only are these texts in the Old Testament Practically every writer in the New Testament calls us to remember the poor. They include the Gospel writers — Matthew, Mark, and Luke — who record the clear teachings of Jesus. They include the writings of Paul and James. The question for many Christians is not whether they should help the poor, but how should they do it? Should they give directly to the poor, support agencies that help the poor, or by the taxes that government collects and distributes to poor people? Christians may differ on which method is most efficient. They should not differ on whether it is right to help the poor. Jesus said it emphatically and concisely. We find his words in Luke 12: 33, “Give to the poor.”

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