There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land. (Deut. 15:11)We have managed to evade these clear teachings by delegating the responsibility to the state, the deacons’ fund, or charitable organizations. Giving to these organizations is not the same as inviting the poor home to dinner.
But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous. (Luke 14:13-14)
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27)
Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? (James 2:15-16)
Or we might get involved at Thanksgiving or Christmas and feel good about it, apparently not realizing that these people would like to eat daily. Our response is that there are too many poor people. Yes, but that is not an excuse for not taking care of one of the many. When the state takes care of the poor, the money may be there, but the love is not.