How Can I Serve God When I Am Poor?

This is a mindset that prevents God’s children from truly being the hands and the feet of Jesus Christ. “If I had this amount of money coming in I could do so much for the poor and the kingdom of God.” Another version of this is, “If I had this talent I could be such a blessing to others.” We don’t have that amount of money nor do we have that talent right now, whether it be playing an instrument or something else. Does that mean we should put serving God on hold and just dream about serving God one day?

A Parable of the Talents from Jesus

14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 

15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. 

16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. 

17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. 

18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. 

19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 

20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 

21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 

22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 

23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 

24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 

25 and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. 

26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: 

27 thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. 

28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 

29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 

30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 25:14-30

In this parable we see three servants. They were all given different amounts of talents. A talent is referring to money. This verse has also been preached in reference to someone’s natural talents such as their musical ability. Imagine what the one that only had one talent could have done if he also had five talents? God only gave him one talent though. He was still expected to serve God and increase the Kingdom. According to scripture he probably would have hidden the five talents just like he did the one.

Using What You Have

God does not regard anyone’s financial limitations or lack of natural talents as reasons not to serve him. God wants us to use what we have right now. Most of us that have been a Christian for any amount of time have heard sermons about the timing of God, waiting on God and the seasons of life. So timing is important. We may be called to have a specific duty in the future but that does not excuse us from working for God today. If we are saved, we all have a calling from God. He has called us to do something for him. If we feel we do not have the capacity to fulfill that calling right now should we do nothing? We should always work for God. The disciples labored for the Kingdom while they were with Christ. Elisha served Elijah.

But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.

1 Corinthians 7:17

 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

1 Peter 4:10

We all have been given a gift from God that we can use. What do you do if you do not have musical talent, you are not called to teach/preach or you are poor? We see the preacher and the musicians and can easily see their gift to the church and the world. Yet we cannot see everyone else. Why is that? There are so many ministries where we can be a blessing. We put so much emphasis on just a few while ignoring or devaluing the importance of the others.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:3

Paul makes a distinction between giving financially to the poor and love. In other words, you can give to the poor, that does not mean you have love or are loving. There are actually more important things than money talent and spiritual gifts. Agape or charity as it is translated in the King James is more important. The Bible tells us that God is Agape. 1 John 4:8 & 1 John 4:16. This is telling us that serving others through God’s love is of the highest value. Serving others through self no real value.

I was helping feed the poor in my local neighborhood. We would set up and get everything ready to give out warm plates for anyone that comes. One evening I noticed someone new. He was wearing very dirty ragged clothes. He was un-kept and was homeless from all appearances. He began helping us set up. He started serving the other poor that had come along with him. We were there to serve him and others like him. He came because he had a need but he also served. His financial situation did not prevent him from serving others. Not only was he helpful and a blessing to the other poor that came but he was also a blessing to the workers that came.

The Humble Servant

For many people they just don’t know where to start. In some cases, it does take some creativity. Handing out a bottle of water to a homeless person in Jesus name is a small gesture but it is something many of us can do. It is a starting place. Not everyone gets to start off at 100. Many of us start off at 0. Jealousy, greed and pride can ruin your relationship with God and cause you to fall.

Serving God can be a very humbling experience. We can be ashamed over what little we can actually do. If you could only afford some cheap water bottles and you didn’t have anyone to go with you would you be ashamed or embarrassed to pass those bottles out to the homeless in your area? Some people would experience those feelings and emotions. That might prevent us from helping at all. If we have money, we can also be ashamed to be seen feeding the poor and homeless. Both cases are a result of pride. Pride is a sin that affects us all regardless of our financial situation.

We are not serving God to be seen however. If we enter into a real and genuine relationship with God, we serve him because we want to please him. We want that relationship to grow and blossom. Our service isn’t to be seen of men but to please God. If we are called to preach/teach it makes no difference if it is one person or 1 million people. I am financially limited myself so I say this knowing that within myself I could never afford to preach to a large amount of people without God financially providing it.

There are a lot of people that only care about the numbers. How many people and how much money is involved, is there mindset. It is no longer about pleasing God. When we get married part of our vows are to stay together whether we are rich or poor. You are supposed to actually mean and stick to that vow. How much more so should we stick with God if we remain poor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *