Eerdword: the Eerdmans blog
April 24, 2017
Matthew 26:11 is a verse Liz Theoharis hears often. In her work to end poverty, “the poor you will always have with you” is almost daily quoted at Theoharis as an argument that her work is futile.
Learn more about the context of this verse and Theoharis’s new book on the topic Always with Us? What Jesus Really Said about the Poor in our interview below:
About the book:
A strong theological call for ending the abomination of systemic poverty
Jesus’s words “the poor you will always have with you” (Matthew 26:11) are regularly used to suggest that ending poverty is impossible, that poverty is a result of moral failures, and that the poor themselves have no role in changing their situation. In this book Liz Theoharis examines both the biblical text and the lived reality of the poor to show how that passage is taken out of context, distorted, and politicized to justify theories about the inevitability of inequality.
Theoharis reinterprets “the poor you will always have with you” to show that it is actually one of the strongest biblical mandates to end poverty. She documents stories of poor people themselves organizing to improve their lot and illuminates the implications for the church. Poverty is not inevitable, Theoharis argues. It is a systemic sin, and all Christians have a responsibility to partner with the poor to end poverty once and for all.