Most Christian teaching leans toward either poverty theology or prosperity theology. Poverty theology gives the impression that poor people are the godly people blessed by God with contentment. Prosperity theology gives the impression that rich people are the godly people blessed by God with wealth.
Sadly, these two categories are only half of what the Bible says about the rich and poor and therefore, if they are all you consider, you will miss God’s perspective on poverty and riches. There are not just two kinds of people (rich and poor), but four kinds of people (godly rich, ungodly rich, godly poor, ungodly poor). Today, we will study the two kinds of poor people.
1. Ungodly poor. In our study of Proverbs, these people are referred to as “lazy”, “the one who chases fantasies”, and the “sluggard”. Their poverty is because of ungodly decisions they make, which hinder their ability to pay their bills and meet their needs.
2. The godly poor. These people love and serve the Lord and live a life of minimal means. Sometimes these people are poor because they have been oppressed by the ungodly rich. Contrasting the godly poor and ungodly rich, Proverbs 16:8 says, “Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice. And Proverbs 28:6 says, “Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a rich man whose ways are perverse.”
Who do you know that fits into these categories?