A survey conducted in Niger by the Office of the Prime Minister asked the poor of that country to describe poverty. Their answers included: dependence, marginalization, scarcity, incapacity and restrictions on rights and freedoms.Continue Reading ›
Is eliminating extreme poverty possible or is it heresy? Is it just a matter of interpretation or a matter of priorities?Continue Reading ›
“At its very core, poverty is a mindset that goes far beyond the tragic circumstances. It is the cruel, destructive message that gets whispered into the ears of millions by the enemy Satan himself: ‘Give up! You don’t matter. Nobody cares about you. Look around you: Things are terrible. Always have been, always will be. Think back. Your grandfather was a failure. Your parents couldn’t protect or take care of you. Now it’s your turn. You, too, will fail. So just give up!'” — Wess Stafford
Why have we taken the first half of that sentence in John 12:8 and placed Jesus behind a lectern at a seminar on economic development while completely ignoring the second half of the sentence?
We treat the “you” in the first half of the sentence as an all-time statement to us but we happily treat the “you” in the second half of the sentence in its context.
During a party at Simon the Leper’s, Jesus says to Judas Iscariot, “The poor you will always have with you” (Matthew 26:11). The misinterpretation of this statement has justified a fatalistic belief that, by divine decree, the world will always have poor people.
The absence of a clear definition is a serious problem for organizations whose missions are to eradicate poverty or, in our case, to release children from poverty.
Tell us how you understand and define poverty, and then in future blog posts we’ll explain the basis of our holistic approach to ministry and what our definition and understanding of the problem is.
The Church’s ability to eliminate extreme poverty is just a matter choosing to do so. We used to say that 40,000 children under age 5 die every day of hunger or preventable diseases. Today, that number is 24,000. These statistics show that in 20 years the number of children who die every day of hunger or preventable diseases has been cut in half. Yet, the birth rate is actually going up. The population is increasing.
Is our ability to eliminate poverty just a matter of how we interpret the Bible? John 12:7-8 is the verse that has captured our thoughts as we think about the poor. The verse that is now the most remembered about the poor.
And yet, when Jesus spoke, he was not talking to us. His use of “you” was not intended to be directed at us. This reference, this statement, was very specifically directed at Judas.