We recently gave you the opportunity ask our president, Wess, any questions you like. We’re publishing his transcribed answers one day at a time. If you want to catch up, here’s the background skinny.
- What do you think is the largest challenge in eradicating poverty on the earth? (Allan)
The biggest challenge of eradicating poverty in the world isn’t finding enough money to throw at it. We often think that poverty is a lack of money. That’s a big piece of it, but it’s not the whole of it, or even the most critical part of it. If it was, I think we could probably organize our world to throw enough money at it to make it go away.
But poverty is much more complicated than that — it’s not about the kind of house that you live in or whether a sewer runs in front of your house. It’s not about the amount of calories you take in or the amount of money you have. Those are only the symptoms of poverty. That’s not real poverty. Real poverty is much more complicated than that and it doesn’t just happen overnight. It rolls down through the generations.
At Compassion we realize that the biggest challenge of poverty is a mindset — a lie that says to a child:
Look around you, nothing works, nothing is pretty nothing smells good — you don’t matter. Look at you. It’s all garbage and so are you. So give up. There’s nobody coming to your rescue. Nobody cares about you, just give up.
We must go into the midst of that abject poverty and breathe hope and love and life. We can meet the critical needs, but there’s no end of that. Scripture says, “So what does a man profit if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?”
What I think is the hardest thing is mobilizing God’s people around the world to not only send their money but to send their hearts and enter into the hurt of a little child and breathe hope:
Don’t give up. I’m watching you grow. I got your report card. I got your picture. I pray for you every night. I think you’re wonderful. Don’t give up.
If we could get enough people in the western world — this rich world that you talk about, Allan — to do that, we could absolutely end poverty on our planet. It’s not going to end with more effort. It’s not going to end with more money. It’s going to end with more heart.
Those of us who have been blessed have been blessed for one reason and one reason only, and that is to be a blessing. Anything God gives you beyond enough ought to be given away to lift someone else up to enough.