The rich shall not give more and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when you give an offering to the Lord, to make atonement for yourselves. (Exodus 30:15)
When it came to supporting the upkeep of the sanctuary, everyone was considered equal in that all could do something — the poor and the rich contributed the same amount. That would imply that God’s expectations of the poor would not impose an incredible burden upon them nor would it exact an unreasonable amount from the wealthy. When it came to to participation in God’s House, whether an act of worship or support of the tabernacle, everyone was equal in His eyes — rank and wealth did not exist. No one was considered better or less than the other and every one was expected to participate.
It is important to note that the Creator acknowledges that the poor do exist alongside the rich. He didn’t demand more from the rich or berate them for being wealthy and He didn’t disparage the poor for being less fortunate or exempt from their responsibility because of their lack. Then and now, He acknowledges that this a fact in the world in which we live — “the poor you will always have with you.” On the other hand, He does encourage those who have more to consider the plight of those who have less, yet, not in a dictatorial way. He simply appeals to all of His people to have compassionate and generous hearts and consider the orphan, the widow, the stranger and the poor among us.
In today’s world, there is a concerted effort to try and make everyone equal — to level the playing field, as some of our leaders like to say. The social justice warriors want to eliminate the distinction between rich and poor and attain so-called equality. Their method, however, is to forcibly exact revenue from the wealthy — against their will — in order to give to the poor thinking that, somehow, this will make everyone equal. What they do not understand, and what we need to glean from this, is that no one can change a man’s heart through force or legislation; even God Himself doesn’t try to do that.
As God’s people, we must do what is right because it is in our heart to do right whether we are rich or poor. For example, those with more should consider those with less, but at the same time, those with less should not expect, much less demand, from those with more. We must do what is right in God’s eyes, not necessarily the eyes of man. Most importantly, those of us who love Him have the comfort of knowing that our Heavenly Father watches over and cares for us, regardless of our financial status. While our treasure is in heaven we nevertheless possess great wealth here and now — we are part of God’s Kingdom on earth. Consequently, we need to share “the wealth” with those we engage each and every day so that those poor in spiritual terms can be rich.
Blessings and Shalom,