Spurgeon: Two Types of Poverty

I was asked the question:  How should a Christian view the welfare system?  I am going to answer this question on Friday’s post.  Today, I am going to post a selection from a Charles Spurgeon sermon (Sermon #320).  He argues there are two types of poverty.  Two types that demand a very different response from the believer.  His words are strong and lack the “political correctness” of modern America.  I will leave you with his thoughts and add my own on Friday.

“A very large number of my present congregation belong to those who labour hard, and who, perhaps, without any unkindly reflection, may be put down in this catalogue of the poor. They have enough-barely enough, and sometimes they are even reduced to straitness. Now remember, my dear friends, you who are poor, there are two sorts of poor people in the world. There are the Lord’s poor, and there are the devil’s poor. As for the devil’s poor: they become pauperized by their own idleness, their own vice, their own extravagance. I have nothing to say to them tonight. There is another class, the Lord’s poor. They are poor through trying providences, poor, but industrious,-labouring to find all things honest in the sight of all men, but yet they still continue through an inscrutable providence to be numbered with the poor and needy. You will excuse me, brothers and sisters, in exhorting you to be contented; and yet why should I ask excuse, since it is but a part of my office to stir you up to everything that is pure and lovely, and of good report? I beseech you, in your humble sphere, cultivate contentment. Be not idle. Seek, if you can, by superior skill, steady perseverance, and temperate thriftiness, to raise your position. Be not so extravagant as to live entirely without care or carefulness; for he that provideth not for his own household with careful fore-thought, is worse than a heathen man and a publican; but at the same time, be contented; and where God has placed you, strive to adorn that position, be thankful to him, and bless his name…voluntary poverty is voluntary wickedness. But inasmuch as God hath made you poor, you have a facility for walking with Christ, where others cannot. You can go with him through all the depths of care and woe, and follow him almost into the wilderness of temptation, when you are in your straits and difficulties for lack of bread. Let this always cheer and comfort you, and make you happy in your poverty, because your Lord and Master is able to sympathize as well as to succour [give aid].”

(I am not trying to say people on welfare are “the devil’s poor”, but the source of a person’s poverty must be considered to analyze the welfare system wisely and Biblically.  For my thoughts check back on Friday.)

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