However, there should be no poor among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you.
I’ve been shopping in Norwich today trying to find a tie for my wedding. Norwich is much like any city in the UK. There are plenty of shops, including high end chains like House of Fraser and John Lewis, as well as the usual high street chains like Top Man and Bhs. The price ranges are incredible; I could buy a suit in Bhs for what some of the ties in House of Fraser cost! You don’t need to look too far to see real poverty as well. Like everywhere else, Norwich has its fair share of Big Issue sellers, beggars, and homeless people sheltering from the rain under old cardboard boxes. The money that one could spend on a tie in House of Fraser – a fairly meaningless garment that is worn a few times then left in the back of the wardrobe – could make a real difference to those needy people in our society.
In Acts 4, we have seen how the new Christians all worked to support one another, with some of the richer members of the church selling some of their belongings in order to provide for the less fortunate. In today’s reading from Deuteronomy, we see a similar idea; we should ensure that the poor are provided for. In fact, this verse goes even further than that; God says that in the land he is to give the Israelites there should be no poor. That’s quite a statement! He goes on to say, though, that he will richly bless those dwelling in his land, and that there will be plenty to go round. In those circumstances, everyone can have what they need, and there is no need for anyone to go without.
Those are challenging words for us, living in a world so divided between rich and poor. We should take these words to heart, though; there is plenty for everyone, if we only shared things round a bit. Ask yourself today – are you doing your bit to ensure that those less fortunate than you are getting what they need?