Rich and Poor
Proverbs 22:2
The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.

The great problem of excessive wealth and pitiable poverty confronts us still, and seems likely to task our united wisdom for many years, if not for several generations. We may regard -

I. THE BROAD AND NAKED FACT VISIBLE TO EVERY EYE. The fact that, while this world is stored with wealth beneath the ground, and is capable of bringing forth upon its surface ample supplies for all the need of the race, there is found amongst us vast mass of miserable indigence. Children are born into the world in homes where parents do not know how to feed and clothe them, where an early death would seem to be the happiest fate; and other children are born into and brought up in homes where parents have a great deal more than they need to provide for their necessities, and where life offers every opportunity for enjoyment with no necessity for labour.


1. Such deep and wide distinctions as now exist must be contrary to his purpose. We cannot possibly suppose that it is in accordance with his mind that thousands of his children should be starving, unclad or ill clad, homeless, exposed to the saddest sufferings and the darkest evils, while other thousands of his children have more than they need or know how to make good use of.

2. These distinctions are the ultimate result of the laws which he ordained. Poverty has its origin in sin; it is one of the penalties of wrong doing. All the evil we see and sigh over, of every kind, we must trace to sin and to the consequences which sin entails. It is a Divine law that sin and suffering go together.

3. Some inequalities amongst us are directly due to his Divine ordering. He creates us with very different faculties. Some are fitted and enabled to do great things, which raise them in position and in circumstance above their brethren; others are not thus qualified Much, though very far indeed from everything, depends upon our natural endowments.

III. THE UNDESIRABLE SEPARATION WHICH EXISTS BETWEEN THE RICH AND THE POOR. We do not know our neighbours as we should. We pass one another with cold indifference. Too often men turn away from their inferiors (in circumstance) with a contemptuous disregard which signifies that the poor man is beneath their notice; too often men fail to appeal to their fellows because they think themselves unworthy to address them. Between man and man, between brother and brother, there is a gulf of isolation which must be painful and pitiful in the sight of the common Father, the Maker of them both.


1. Those on which they must feel the distinction between them - in business and in society.

2. Those on which they should not do so - when they meet in public worship or for Christian work, then all differences of a material and social kind should be forgotten and ignored.

(1) What are these in presence of that which separates both rich and poor from the Infinite and Almighty One?

(2) What are these in comparison with the question of moral and spiritual Worth? In the sight of God, the poor but holy man is far more acceptable than the rich but unholy man. With him all questions of income or of title are utterly insignificant, positively invisible in presence of the questions of moral rectitude and spiritual worth.

3. One on which they will not do so (Revelation 20:12).

1. Do your best to bridge the gulf, or, still better, to fill up the chasm which separates one class from another.

2. Take care to have that distinction which will survive the shocks of time and change. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.

WEB: The rich and the poor have this in common: Yahweh is the maker of them all.

The Good Name
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