We all know the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15, and we’ve heard many sermons on it. But what if there’s more to the story that we’ve missed? What if it’s not just about a lost soul returning home? I believe it could also be about how we care for the poor as believers. Take a look at verses 16-17. “The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything. “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger!” (NLT)
There was no one in the land he was living in who gave him anything when he was in need. So he left that area. He remembered how his father cared for the poor. He thought that even if he wasn’t his father’s son anymore, that his father would have compassion on him because he was poor. So he returned. In looking for compassion, he found salvation. There’s a lesson there for us as believers. When we care for the poor, they’ll find salvation.
Here are some verses on caring for the poor.
1. Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor honors him.
Proverbs 14:31 NLT
2. Jesus answered him, “If you wish to be perfect [that is, have the spiritual maturity that accompanies godly character with no moral or ethical deficiencies], go and sell what you have and give [the money] to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me [becoming My disciple, believing and trusting in Me and walking the same path of life that I walk].”
MATTHEW 19:21 AMP
3. Defend the rights of the poor and the orphans; be fair to the needy and the helpless. Rescue them from the power of evil people.
Psalm 82:3-4 GNT
4. Be generous to the poor—you’ll never go hungry; shut your eyes to their needs, and run a gauntlet of curses.
Proverbs 28:27 MSG
5. Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need.
Proverbs 21:13 NLT