There are two themes that are consistent throughout the Bible. One is work and the other is giving. Soon after placing Adam in the Garden of Eden, God said to him, “Work and take care of it...” At that moment in history, God declared that man has a responsibility to work and provide for himself. However, in one of His sermons, Jesus said, “Freely you have received, freely give.” What if one is unable to work? Should the one who does work give what he has to support the one who cannot work?
Solomon wrote, “The poor plead for mercy, but the rich answer harshly.” Who is responsible to whom in this situation? The poor to work if they can, or the rich to give if they have plenty?
The “poor” in this verse is one who is “pleading” for help, and for whatever reason, are unable to work. They are willing to work but are unable. On the other hand, the “wealthy” in this verse, have plenty, are able to help, but unwilling – actually “unyielding” – to share their riches with those in need. The teaching is clear: If a person can work, they must. And, if a person is rich, their wealth came from God but they are, in fact, responsible to help those in need.
It is intriguing that the word “mercy” comes between “the poor” and “the rich.” Here the rich have wealth, but no mercy, and the poor, who need mercy to survive, are rejected.
Paul wrote, “Though He was rich...He became poor.” God knew we are “poor” and need His salvation that comes from His mercy. In love, He sent His son, “that we might become rich!”
PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for the gift of salvation that is ours because of Your mercy. We are grateful for this gift that we desperately need, but cannot afford. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Scripture For Today: Proverbs 18:23 The poor plead for mercy, but the rich answer harshly.