Scriptural Manna: Poor people and rich people

November 11, 2015
Photo by Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World

Editor's note: Bread Blog is running a year-long series exploring passages from The Poverty & Justice Bible published by the American Bible Society (Contemporary English Version). The intent is a theological exploration at the intersection of social justice and religion. The blog posts will be written by members of the church relations staff at Bread for the World.

“Any of God’s people who are poor should be glad that he thinks so highly of them. But any who are rich should be glad when God makes them humble.  Rich people will disappear like wild flowers scorched by the burning heat of the sun.  The flowers lose their blossoms, and their beauty is destroyed.  That is how the rich will disappear, as they go about their business.”  (James 1: 9-11)

By Marco A. Grimaldo

Throughout the Gospels and in the Epistles, we read stark distinctions between the things of this world and those of God’s realm.  Most of us know Jesus’ admonition “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven.” But does Jesus really mean that people with money and resources will never find salvation? 

Maybe there is more to it than that.  Perhaps the fine line to be drawn, the crooked path to be walked, is that regardless of whether we have wealth or live in poverty, we must cherish love, compassion, and humility more than money, status, and privilege.  Maybe that is just more difficult for anyone with wealth – it’s easier to prize humility when you seemingly have little to lose.

Don’t misunderstand me, being poor is hard work.  I’ve walked miles to buy the one can of green beans that was on sale so I could make budget. And it’s not easy in a city where the buses don’t always run on time.  Being poor is a burden that affects children especially. But I think what God is saying is that rich people have the added responsibility to invest in things that glorify God.

So whether you are wealthy or struggling financially, God’s message is the same.  Stay focused on God and on our sisters and brothers more than on anything we own. The things of this world will disappear, but God’s steadfast love endures forever.

Marco A. Grimaldo is the senior national associate for Latino engagement at Bread for the World.

The things of this world will disappear, but God’s steadfast love endures forever.

from our Resource Library

For Education

  • Election Resources

    One of the best times to raise the issues of hunger and poverty is during election campaigns. Engage candidates in your state/district on hunger and poverty using our elections resources.
  • U.S. Hunger and Poverty State Fact Sheets

    These fact sheets provide a snapshot of hunger and poverty in the United States and in each state plus Washington, D.C. 

  • Conflict and Fragility Are Hunger Issues

    Conflict is a main driver of the recent increase in hunger around the world and of forced migration. Hunger also contributes to conflict.

For Faith

  • The Bible on Health as a Hunger Issue

    “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.

    The Bible on...

  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

    A diverse body of Christian leaders calls on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection.

    Dear Members of Congress,

    As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...

  • In Times Like These … A Pan-African Christian Devotional for Public Policy Engagement

    This devotional guide invites deepened relationship with and among Pan-Af­rican people and elected leaders in the mission to end hunger and poverty.

For Advocacy