What The Bible Says About Helping The Poor

Editor’s Note:
In our newest issue today, Compass founder, Howard Dayton, has a timely word. As you’ll recall, last week, we heard from Compass Global president and CEO, Brandon Sieben, on investing…especially in times like this. But while investing is wise, as stated many times over in the Bible, we’re reminded by Howard today that we should always keep investing on the behalf of Christ—and remember the more important causes of life…

Melody Stampley, Managing Editor

In Matthew 25:34-45, we are confronted with one of the most exciting and yet sobering truths in Scripture. 

Read this passage carefully: “Then the King will say, ‘for I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink’. Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You drink?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire. For I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink . . . to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’”

In some mysterious way, we can’t begin to wrap our minds around Jesus, the Creator of all things, personally identifying Himself with the poor. 

When we share with the poor, we are actually sharing with Jesus Himself. And if that truth seems staggering, then buckle your seatbelt, because the reciprocal is terrifying. 

When we do not give to the poor, we leave Christ Himself hungry and thirsty. When we neglect those in need, we neglect the Son of God Himself—and He knows it, feels it and will call us to account for it.

Don’t ask me how that could be. I just know that it’s a spiritual truth, declared by Jesus shortly before going to the cross.

During Christ’s earthly ministry, He gave consistently to the poor. It’s especially revealing that, during the Last Supper, after Jesus told Judas to go (in order to carry out the betrayal), the writer adds this comment in John 13:28-29: “Now no one . . . knew for what purpose He had said this to him. For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, ‘Buy things we have need of for the feast’; or else, that he should give something to the poor” 

Giving to the poor was such a natural, consistent part of Jesus’ life that the disciples just assumed He was sending Judas either to buy food for their own needs or to give to the poor. No other alternative entered their minds!

It is small wonder that after Paul meets with the disciples to discuss his calling as a minister to the Gentiles, that this statement is made in Galatians 2:10: “They [the disciples] only asked us to remember the poor—the very thing I also was eager to do.”

It’s truly mind-blowing to think of all the theological issues the disciples could have discussed with Paul. But at that time, they only mentioned one: remembering the poor. Now, that should tell us something! 

Job is a wonderful example of proactively seeking to help the needy. “I delivered the poor who cried for help, and the orphan who had no helper . . . I made the widow’s heart sing for joy… I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame. I was a father to the needy, and I investigated the case which I did not know” (Job 29:12-16).

May we follow Job’s example!

In Love,

Howard Dayton



Howard is the founder of Compass—finances God’s way and author of five books and six small group studies. He graduated from Cornell University and served two and a half years as a naval officer. But after a business partner challenged him to study the Bible to discover what God teaches about handling money, Howard’s life was profoundly changed. Since beginning in ministry, he has served as a full-time volunteer and has led more than 75 small groups. Howard married Beverly in 1971, and had two children and four grandchildren before she went Home to be with the Lord. In 2019, Howard remarried. He and his wife, Lynn, reside in Central Florida and Charleston, South Carolina.