Mark 14:7 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Mark 14:7, NIV: "The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me."

Mark 14:7, ESV: "For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me."

Mark 14:7, KJV: "For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always."

Mark 14:7, NASB: "For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me."

Mark 14:7, NLT: "You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to. But you will not always have me."

Mark 14:7, CSB: "You always have the poor with you, and you can do what is good for them whenever you want, but you do not always have me."

What does Mark 14:7 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus is partially quoting the section of the Mosaic law about the sabbatical year. The Israelites were called to be generous to their poor countrymen, whether the needy could repay or not. God tells them, "For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, 'You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land'" (Deuteronomy 15:11).

The Passover has become a popular time to give to the poor. Spring in Israel brings the harvest of beans, barley, and wheat. But the offering of firstfruits occurs on the day after the Sabbath after the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and it is against the law to eat from the spring harvest until after the firstfruits offering has been given (Leviticus 23:9–14). That means that the landowners are still living on the previous fall's produce. The poor need charity to keep them until the landowners harvest their crops and open their fields (Leviticus 23:22).

The church, likewise, is to take care of its poor. The believers in Jerusalem realized what an important mission they had as the first church, and shared all their resources so no one was in need (Acts 4:32–37). Older widows with good character but no family or wealth should be able to trust the church for their wellbeing (1 Timothy 5:3–16). Churches that Paul planted supported the large number of believers in Jerusalem (Romans 15:26; 1 Corinthians 16:1–4; Galatians 2:10). Meeting the needs of the poor is among the indicators of faithful obedience to Jesus (James 2:14–17), and Jesus equates serving the needy with serving Himself (Matthew 25:34–40).

Jesus is clear that giving to the poor is vital, but it mustn't take the place of the gospel. There will always be a time to give to the poor, but there are also times for Jesus. Just as giving is only one of the spiritual gifts, so giving is just one part of the Christian life. Spending all our time and resources feeding and caring for the poor without teaching them about Jesus may just result in warm, well-fed people going to hell.