For you will always have the poor with you, and you can do good for them whenever you want. But you will not always have me!It sort of disgusts me every time I hear this verse misconstrued. I've heard many argue that because, "you will always have the poor with you," that nothing should be done to work toward the elimination of poverty. That is not what Jesus was getting at in any way, shape, or form. This should be obvious from the rest of the sentence, "and you can do good for them whenever you want." Jesus was not calling for the end of helping the poor. Rather, his focus was on prioritizing.
This is where other groups really disgust me. Those who place the primary importance on helping the poor and tend to ignore other important things, like the role of Christ's sacrifice. I am saying this as someone who works at a nonprofit whose primary objective is to help the poor. I also attend a church where that is a major focus. However, it cannot be the primary focus of the Church or of individual believers. It is important, but there are more important things. Most notably, sharing the Gospel. Both should be done and they are not mutually exclusive. I just wish the idea of mutual exclusivity wasn't so prevalent in US churches today.