THE BIBLE’S VIEWPOINT
Despite well-meaning efforts to solve the problem, there are millions of people around the world living in poverty.
How can the poor be happy?
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
Many people believe that happiness and fulfillment are achieved through material prosperity and that real success depends largely on how much money a person has. With little or no access to basic education, quality health care, and other benefits, those trapped in poverty are not expected to have a happy and satisfying life.
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS
The Bible teaches that real happiness depends, not on one’s economic situation, but on one’s spiritual well-being and relationship with the Creator. The Bible says: “Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need.” (Matthew 5:3) Regardless of their financial status, those who are aware of their spiritual need are moved to seek God’s thinking on matters and can thus learn Bible truths that bring real comfort and peace of mind. That is what brings true happiness.
Those who understand and follow the Bible’s counsel are better equipped to deal with poverty. For example, Bible counsel steers people away from harmful habits, such as the use of tobacco and the abuse of alcohol. Practices like these waste money and potentially result in the need for expensive medical treatment.
The Bible also cautions against the damaging effects of greed and materialism. (Mark 4:19; Ephesians 5:3) Such counsel can help a person avoid wasting money on gambling or developing a “love of money,” which the Bible describes as “a root of all sorts of injurious things.” (1 Timothy 6:10) The Scriptures warn: “Even when a person has an abundance, his life does not result from the things he possesses.” (Luke 12:15) Simply put, no amount of money can buy life itself. On the other hand, acting in harmony with the Bible’s wise counsel makes life meaningful and results in genuine happiness.
While those living in poverty may have to struggle to get food, clothing, and shelter, they can find considerable happiness by cultivating contentment, focusing their lives on pleasing their Creator, and living in harmony with his will. They recognize the truth of the Bible’s promise that “it is the blessing of Jehovah that makes one rich, and He adds no pain with it.”
KEY SCRIPTURE: “Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need.”
Will there ever be an end to poverty?
WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS
While human relief efforts have been unsuccessful in bringing the problem of poverty under control, in due time, God will give attention to the root of the problem
The earth will be a true paradise with housing and food for all, without a trace of poverty. In the Bible book of Isaiah, God promises that his people “will build houses and live in them, and they will plant vineyards and eat their fruitage. . . . The work of their hands my chosen ones will enjoy to the full.” (Isaiah 65: 21, 22) Instead of struggling to eke out a meager existence, all will enjoy “a banquet of rich dishes” and other good things provided by Jehovah.
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Reflecting on God’s promise of a poverty-free world reassures those living under oppressive conditions that God cares about them and that the end of their struggles is in sight. Focusing on such a hope can give a person strength to endure difficult conditions now.
KEY SCRIPTURE: “He will rescue the poor who cry for help . . . He will have pity on the lowly and the poor, and the lives of the poor he will save.”
—Psalm 72:12, 13.