The rich and the poor

Proverbs 19:4

Nothing upon earth is so powerful as money. It is a force before which everything bows. Wealth is such a mighty power, that one possessing it does not feel his dependence as other men do. Being more easily spoiled than other men, his salvation is more difficult. This accounts for everything the gospel has to say about rich men. In speaking of wealth, we are very apt to make the mistake of supposing that only very rich men are wealthy. The Bible accounts that man wealthy who, free from debt, has anything left after making provision for actual necessities of life. Poverty is isolation. When we become poor we become lonely. Either friends withdraw from us or we with- draw from them. When one gets really poor he is pretty much left by his brethren. They may not mean to shun him, but they let him pretty severely alone. The poor are the material we Christians are to work upon. To these we are to let our light shine. It is our holiest work to stop this separation of the poor from his neighbours. The poor are here by Divine intention. The poor help to save our souls. We are not to relieve them only; we are to help them. Giving is not enough to fulfil our Christian duty towards them. Helping the poor to help themselves is the most Christlike thing you can do. Machinery in religious life is to be avoided. It is of use only as it helps to concentrate energy. (G. R. Van de Water.)