One of the tricks of government is to classify people into status groups. Perhaps you've heard our President refer to the rich of this great nation when discussing tax rates. I've often wondered why he treats success as a four letter word, don't you think prosperous is a more accurate definition? Anyway, within these categorizations is the lower class that you rarely hear the government talk about. They certainly are vocal about the middle class workers and the prosperous that they wish to impose higher taxes on, but it's not often they highlight the poor people of this nation. Probably for good reason as they don't really spotlight the results of unsuccessful policy. But while government ignores this group of people, the Bible does not.
The poor can be broken down into four categories as they appear in the Scripture. The first group consists of individuals who are poor because of a direct result of indolence, irresponsibility. God's response to such behavior is understandably without compassion. "Consider the ant thou sluggard." Go watch the ant and learn how to live. Paul is very strict in his rebuke in the New Testament: "If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat."-2 Thess. 3:10
However we cannot lump everyone of the disadvantaged into this description. There are lots of people who fall into this classification that are void of sin or from a result of being lazy. There are those who are poor because of calamity, disease, accident and other circumstances. Scripture tells us that it's our responsibility to pour out our hearts in compassion and give assistance to those who are suffering through no fault of their own. Please note there isn't a word of government intervention here. We are our brother's keepers, not politicians in Washington who've acquired a godlike aura and pass out entitlements to those in need for exchanging favors in the ballot box.
The third group are those who are poor due to tyranny, or exploitation by the powerful. If you listen to the politicians today, you could surmise that to be anyone who makes under a million dollars a year, as they believe every dollar earned in prosperity was one that was taken from another. It could be they feel guilty as all their revenue is derived from the imposing of taxes on the hard working citizen. Back to point, God demands we fight for justice for these victims and be advocates and defenders of these people in need. That's the righteous thing for Christians to do.
The fourth and final group is comprised of those who are poor voluntarily. Mother Theresa come to mind as one of those blessed few who live in poverty so they can serve others. It takes a special individual to sacrifice worldly gain as a personal commitment so they can devote their entire attention toward the well being of others. They not only deserve our support, but our whole hearted approval. They understand their reward will be in heaven, not here on earth. You better believe their riches will far exceed any known to man on earth.
I think I have a better grasp now of why politicians don't directly address the poor. It's more complicated than issues they like to address. It's easier to lump them all together and write a taxpayer supported check to resolve the issue. Instead of understanding and dealing with each aspect of poverty as a separate problem, they move it off the table of priorities by throwing tax dollars at it. The results speak for themselves. This is why government shouldn't be involved in charity.