“You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” John 12:8
Once again we encounter the danger of quoting a single verse without the rest of the passage. Jesus is not telling us “the poor will always be here, so don’t worry about them”, just the opposite! This statement is part of His reprimand to Judas, warning of His impending death and the importance of learning His teachings before that happens.
Jesus in essence says to Judas “the poor have always been here, now when it suits your purpose you say you worry and use them as a weapon?!” Are we guilty of this as well, only concerned about an issue when it benefits our position? We must always be on guard that we genuinely care for others and not seek to advance our own cause through them.
Jesus taught that others are not tools to be used to support our arguments, but our beloved siblings, part of His family and deserving of our care. May we always put their well-being above our own comfort or cause.
Gracious God, You call us to love each other, being connected through You as brothers and sisters. Help us to see everyone in this way, and to care for them as Jesus does. Amen.