Poverty is Prevented by Generosity to the Poor

Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse (Prov. 28:27).

This verse contrasts between giving and not giving to the poor. We note two principles here. First, give to the poor and you will not become poor. Second, however, hide your eyes from the poor, and you will receive many curses.

Hiding your eyes is the opposite of giving to the poor. Hence, hiding your eyes means not giving to the poor. To give to the poor is to be generous. To hide your eyes to the poor is to be greedy. To give to the poor is to be self-less. To hide your eyes to the poor is to be selfish.

The following is a report on charitable giving or giving to the poor by U.S. News and World Report in December, 1991. Age group that gives the highest percent of income to charity: Ages 65 to 74 is 4.4%. The lowest: Ages 18 to 24 is 1.2%. Personal income Americans gave to charity last year: Poorest households: 5.5%. Wealthiest households: 2.9%.[1] 

I wonder why young people do not give as much of their income to the poor. Perhaps because they are poor themselves, jobless, or relying on their parents’ support. Or perhaps, they are consumed with their own selfishness.

Why do the poor give more to the poor than the rich? Perhaps, because they know what it means to be poor. Or perhaps, they face the poor at ground zero, relating with them more often than the rich.

Mother Teresa, the missionary to the poorest of the poor, was traveling to New Guinea. A friar asked Mother Teresa. “If I pay my own fare to New Guinea, can I sit next to you on the plane so I can talk to you and learn from you?” Mother Teresa looked at him. “You have enough money to pay airfare to New Guinea?” she asked. “Oh, yes,” he replied eagerly. “Then give that money to the poor,” she said. “You’ll learn more from that than anything I can tell you.” [2]

Close your eyes to the poor and people will curse you. People will call on God to punish you for your selfishness. Worse—God Himself will curse you for your selfishness. “The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the dwelling of the righteous” (Prov. 3:33).

Thus, we see an ironic contrast in Prov. 28:27. Whoever gives to the poor shall not become poor. But whoever does not give to the poor shall become rich—rich with many curses.


[1] Statistics and Research. Cited March 31, 2012. Online: http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/g/giving.htm.

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