I’m tired of these pseudo Christians and their cruel interpretation of scripture. How stingy.
Let’s take a look at “The poor you will always have with you” in context. Roger Marshall, follow along in your Bible. Look up Matthew 26:6–13. In this story, a woman comes to Jesus and pours expensive perfume on him. The disciples are outraged. She should sell the perfume and give the money to the poor. Cue Jesus saying:
“Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
The stingy interpretation is to say, “see, the poor are an unsolvable problem, let’s just dismiss them as Jesus appears to do here.” But clearly, Jesus is pointing out that life is short, and every now and then you need a break from your work of making the world better for everyone — to enjoy a beautiful, luxurious thing.
Let’s add some more context. Back in Matthew 19:21 Jesus said:
“If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
So, the setup is that, to achieve perfection (Robert Marshall — you are so far from this it’s hilarious) we all need to dissolve our funds, distribute to the poor. That would make everyone pretty much the same level. Without possessions (which brings up the question, is it poor to be without possessions? Is the baseline “poor”?)
And then this woman comes along with a startling act of luxury. So the disciples think this is some kind of error. You can’t have sensual luxury if perfection is giving everything to the poor.
But Jesus says, some exceptions are cool.
Now, like Robert Marshall, you could be a stingy miser and use this story to dismiss the poor and give the Bible a bad name.
Or, you could take this story and use it as the theological basis for permitting poor people to spend welfare income on luxury items. Treat yourself to perfume and a day at the spa. Life is short. Prepare yourself for death and the afterlife.
It’s what Jesus would do, and actually did.