End poverty I realize that what I’m about to post isn’t going to be very popular. But I’m willing to post it because I hope it will start a healthy discussion.

Here it is: Over the past few years, I’ve heard this phrase come up literally dozens of times at missions conferences, ministry events, churches, on blogs, etc. The discussion turns to poverty and inevitably someone says “this is the generation that can end poverty.”

I don’t know if I believe that. In fact, I’m not totally sure Christians are called to end poverty. Before you go looking for handy throwing stones, allow me to explain:

First, let me say that I do believe there are enough resources in our world to take care of everyone. There’s enough food. Enough water. Enough materials for shelter and clothing.

But to make sure everyone gets their fair share, it would mean an end to greed and corruption. It would mean a massive shift in human nature. I don’t think this generation, or any other, can accomplish that.

Secondly, I don’t know of any scripture that says we are called to end poverty. We are called to fight injustice. We are called to be a voice for the voiceless, look after the orphan and the widow. But I don’t know of any verse that says we are expected to end poverty.

And third, I wonder if saying that we can end poverty is contradictory to what Jesus told us:

“The poor you will always have with you…” –Mark 14:7 (NIV)

Granted, a lot of people misuse that quote. They use it as an argument against doing anything about poverty: “We’ll always have poverty, so it’s fruitless to try to fight it.”

That’s not the point I’m making here. What many don’t know is that Jesus was actually quoting a passage from Deuteronomy. That original scripture goes on to tell us what we’re supposed to do about poverty:

“There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore, I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.” –Deuteronomy 15:11 (NIV)

Notice that the command is not to “end poverty” but to give. To share. And when a command is given, obedience is what’s expected.

I don’t think we’re called to end poverty. I do think we’re called to be obedient to God’s command.

It’s about taking care of those who are less fortunate. I think it’s about making sure that no child ever starves to death for lack of food, or dies from a preventable disease. It’s about making sure no one has to drink unsafe water. It’s about making sure everyone has a chance at life.

I think God allows poverty so that His glory may be shown … through His people doing His work … obeying that command.

My boss reminded me of the old ad campaign, McGruff the Crime Dog. Remember his famous catch-phrase? “Take a bite out of crime.” Not END crime … but take a bite out of it. I think we can take a bite out of poverty. I think we can stop some of the injustices. I’m just not sure we can end it.

Okay. Now you may grab your stones.

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  1. Jul 15, 2008
    at 6:07 am

    No stones needed, no discussion needed from my side! I totally agree, especially with your quotes from the Bible, we have to do everything in our power to help the poor and to get rid of poverty; but Jesus promised us already that we’ll always live with the poor and I think you phrase it well when you say that His glory may be shown through it! Now it’s up to us how to respond…

    Thanks for sharing! It’s good to be reminded all the time!

  2. Jul 15, 2008
    at 6:58 am

    I’ll pick up my stone and cover your back! However, people do get scared of hearing, “We can not end poverty,” “It is impossible!” “We’ll never erase this problem, etc.” There is the belief that others will get complacent or quit altogether (many will, they need to hear a pep talk that nothing is impossible). Many in the United States also need a “quick end date” for them to care and participate – it’s our culture unfortunately. They want to be part of a winner – and anything other than “ending” poverty is not a winner.

    One individual/family/village at a time is how it’s done. I know my small donation matters to one little boy in Peru. I know one irrigation system matters to one village in Africa. One well dug matters to one family in India, etc. Put all parts of the body together, and there’s a whole lot of “mattering” in the world. We’re a fallen world, and for that we’ll always have an opportunity to help.

  3. Jul 15, 2008
    at 8:46 am

    Who is more poverty stricken? Poor people in undeveloped countries with few resources, or rich Americans with poverty of Spirit? We need each other — so desperately — and perhaps that is why God allows it to continue.

  4. Jul 15, 2008
    at 10:31 am

    Juli, your comment reminds me of something my favorite college professor said, long ago, when preaching from I John. Having driven home the point that we can’t say we love God, and hate our brother; having advised us that we can’t say we love God, when we see those in need and “close up our bowels of compassion against them”; he summed it up: “We really do need each other.” And we do; the poor need the rich to lend a helping hand, and the rich need the poor to learn…oh, gosh, so many things: Joy, in the midst of poverty; full knowledge that we are utterly dependent on God; sharing out of our little with those who have less; humility, in the face of our inadequacy; and no doubt much more that I have yet to realize.

    Good post, Tim. No stones, here.

  5. Joel Laramee
    Jul 15, 2008
    at 10:32 am

    I do have a concern with what has been said here. But don’t worry, it’s a concern I have with Compassion as a whole, to some extent. And here it is: do folks at Compassion believe in injustice that is rooted in systems, especially political and economic systems? Or does that fall into the category of the instrinsically “greedy and corrupt” nature of humanity?

    For example, what does Compassion have to say about the legacy of colonial oppression and exploitation of darker people in the “south” by lighter people in the “north”, a legacy which in many ways is quite alive and well today?

    And I have to say that Juli Jarvis’ comment makes me quite uneasy. It seems very close to a kind of spiritual imperialism, by which we who are materially rich can be made spiritually rich as well, by rubbing up against those who are in severe need materially. Why kill the golden spiritual goose (i.e., poverty)? :-)

    I mean no offense to anyone. I appreciate that the topic has been raised.

  6. Jul 15, 2008
    at 11:03 am

    Poverty is a symptom of the very broad sickness that plagues the human spirit. That sickness is called “sin.”

    In God’s view, sin has been crucified with Christ on the cross. He has already put an end to sin, and therefore to poverty.

    As long as people continue to reject that solution, and reject obedience to Christ’s command to sacrificially crucify our own sin natures, sin … and poverty … will continue.

    Does that mean we should do nothing? Did Christ do nothing? No, He did everything He could do. He gave all He had to give.

    He expects us to do the same.

  7. Jul 15, 2008
    at 11:18 am

    I think the phrase “the generation that ends poverty” is designed from a an ecumenical and secular marketing angle and not from scripture. The One Campaign for instance does not single out Christian groups or secular groups but all groups, all sides of politics, all sides of culture.

    The 21st Century is marked by a culture of wants not a culture of needs in the west, especially the Christian West. Poverty is used as a deliberately ugly word to snap to attention a world that does anything and everything in it’s power to distance itself from the reality that 1/6th of world’s population live in severe poverty. Without a phrase that aspires to do anything, nothing else gets done.

    And I don’t think McGruff the Crime Dog is exactly analogous to the plight of the 1 billion dis-enfranchised, poverty-stricken and oppressed.

    As Christians we are not called to end poverty. With that I have no disagreement at all, from scripture, tradition, and even in possibility. But as Christians we have to at least pay attention. We have to use our imagination to force our morality into action. We have a moral obligation to treat the world’s poor with dignity. Phrases like “ending poverty” might be the only way to get people to consider doing the little things you ask be done.

  8. Tim Glenn
    Jul 15, 2008
    at 12:30 pm

    Some great comments everyone! I really thought I’d be dodging stones by now.

    Steve, I think you make a great point. The AIDS crisis is that way, somewhat. Many Americans (or Westerners in general), have “moved on”, looking for the next thing…because they have this mentality of the fight against AIDS being futile. If we can’t end it overnight, why bother? But the AIDS pandemic continues. So many want something they can crow about…”Look how we ended this!” but AIDS, like poverty, will not go away overnight.

    Yes, let’s not focus on the idea that we can’t “end” poverty…and focus on the idea that our part matters…and it’s our mandate, from God Himself, that we do something about it.

    Good dialogue! Thanks guys!

  9. Holly
    Jul 15, 2008
    at 1:08 pm

    “Poverty is a symptom of the very broad sickness that plagues the human spirit. That sickness is called ‘sin’.” Does that mean that wealth is God’s blessing? Larry, you’re walking a fine line here. I agree that sin is separation from God, but I do not look at someone living in poverty and blame them for their situation. Poverty is the result of many interrelated concerns: conflict, social policies, racism, poor personal choices, lack of social mobility, lack of education, lack of resources. What is clear throughout the Bible and the New Testament: Jesus has very strong words for the wealthy. “It easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:24.

    In response to your post, Tim, I do believe Christians are called to end poverty. God’s vision of shalom (as seen in Genesis) is a vision of right relationships with creation, each other and God. When God created the world, no one lived in hunger. It is God’s dream for humanity. Yes, we are fallen. Yes, we chose disobedience over God’s abundance, but Jesus Christ reconciles us to this vision of shalom. As we seek to live in right relationship with God through Jesus Christ, we are called to live out that hope into the world. Part of my hope in Jesus is that we will SEE and PARTICIPATE in an end to suffering, an end to injustice, an end to poverty.
    Maybe it is true – we can’t end poverty once and for all in our generation: but we can end it wherever we find it IN our generation. We are not responsible for what the next generation does to screw things up again.
    To say the poor will always be with us is just to say that the powerful will always be injust. This is not license for us, the powerful, to be injust — we will still reap the consequences of our sin if we do not resist it.

  10. Tim Glenn
    Jul 15, 2008
    at 1:30 pm

    I think you’re right, Ben…but I think it’s a sad statement on the spiritual health of the Church in the West that we have to use a “marketing phrase” like “end poverty” to get people mobilized. Very sad indeed. We should want to fight poverty because God told us to. We should want to fight poverty because we believe in justice.

    We are obligated, as you said, by God’s mandate to get involved in the fight against poverty.

    As for the McGruff analogy, I think it does apply. Crime, somehwat like poverty, is one of the ills of this world…and affects millions. While crime is a sin…poverty is not. That’s true. But there are many sins of greed, omission, arrogance and pride that are rooted in poverty. Not on behalf of the poor necessarily, but on behalf of those who greedily take while others have not.

  11. Tim Glenn
    Jul 15, 2008
    at 1:34 pm

    Holly,

    The problem I have with your analogy is that…using your argument, humanity can get back to Eden. I don’t think that’s true. Not on this earth. Not til Jesus returns.

    When Jesus comes back, THAT will be the end of poverty. But in this world, I don’t believe so.

    So I would have to respectfully disagree. I don’t think we’re called to “end poverty.” I don’t think we can. I do think we’re called to alleviate suffering…bring equality and justice…speak up for those who don’t have a voice. I believe we are called to be the hands, feet and yes voice of Christ to a hurting and dying world. But I don’t think God expects His people to get us “back to Eden.” Only He can do that.

  12. Jul 15, 2008
    at 1:43 pm

    Regardless of how many times I tell my kids to turn off lights (they aren’t using), I still find myself going around and turning off lights in empty rooms.

    I could just leave them on, but what would that make me?

  13. Tim Glenn
    Jul 15, 2008
    at 1:46 pm

    I’d like to address the questions that Joel raised, because I think they’re important.

    First, let me say I’m speaking for myself and NOT Compassion.

    Yes…I believe there are “systems” that contribute to the societal illness that we call poverty. But systems are created. And they are created by sinful man. If investigated thoroughly enough, our political system would be found wonting in the areas of justice for the poor, minorities, children, etc.

    Now…putting my Compassion hat back on again: What does Compassion say about such issues as racial exploitation and oppression? Obviously, we believe exploitation of any human being is wrong, whether it be because of skin color, social status, age, etc. And Compassion’s program is designed to show EVERY child–black, white, poor, disabled, educationally challenged (the list goes on) is a gift from God to be honored, cherished, nurtured, RESPECTED, loved and introduced to the Kingdom of God.

  14. Jul 15, 2008
    at 1:57 pm

    I agree, Tim, and here’s my own analogy: God placed a call on my life to be an advocate for the poor, and especially for children. He poured His passion for this ministry into my heart.

    I love finding sponsors for children, but I haven’t set any records for doing so. And it took me a few years to accept the fact that, while God called me to this ministry, He didn’t call me to reap 250 sponsorships a year, or even 100. There may be a few advocates who do that, but I can’t worry about that…too much. My job is to do the task that He has called me to, to speak to every pastor or other church leader who will listen, to talk to individuals when I have the opportunity, to raise my community’s awareness of the crying need in our world and of God’s mandate that we do all we can to meet it. I can’t afford to get deeply frustrated and angry (as I used to do) when I don’t get the results I think I should get. God often needs time to work in the hearts of those people I do talk to, and that’s not my business. I have to keep taking one more step on the path He has set before me, and let Him do His work in me and/or through me.

    I think that’s our call with regard to poverty: to do all we can with what we have, to keep taking steps on the path He has set us on, making as much of a difference as He and we can make, until Jesus comes again…till all have heard and the Enemy has been vanquished forever. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

  15. Tim Glenn
    Jul 15, 2008
    at 1:59 pm

    Larry,

    I agree with you. We just have to be careful that we’re not leading others to believe that poverty is the result of sin on behalf of the poor.

    The disciples asked Jesus, “Who sinned, that this man was born blind? Was it him…or his parents?” And Jesus said, “Neither. It’s so that God’s glory can be shown.”

    Now, I agree with what you’re saying…poverty has become so rampant and tragic in this world today due to the sins of other men…mostly greed and corruption. We all know the stories of countries where food/supplies never make it to the poor because of corrupt governments.

    I know you know this…but I just wanted to clarify for anyone who may misinterpret.

    And, as I said in my post…it’s about obedience. Our part, in the fight against poverty, is to be obedient. To respond to His call to feed the hungry, give a cup of cold water in His name, clothe the naked, etc.

  16. Jul 15, 2008
    at 2:02 pm

    P.S. When I began my comment (#13) I was responding to Tim’s (#11). Tim’s #12 got in there, first!

  17. Jul 15, 2008
    at 2:54 pm

    Fascinating discussion. I agree with everyone who said we use the term because we are very goal oriented. Instead of realizing that living a sacrifical and giving life is what we’ve been called to, we like to think we’ll be able to have this huge impact and reach a goal. We want to see tangible results for our efforts.

  18. Jul 15, 2008
    at 3:07 pm

    Tim this is such a great thought-provoking post. I’m bringing this to my Bible study tomorrow to read and discuss. This is exactly the kind of thing we talk about.

    I agree that we will never end suffering in our lifetime — in whatever form it may come — poverty, disease, war, etc. I also agree that this doesn’t exempt us from doing everything we can to care for others.

    The only thing you said that I don’t agree with is this:

    “I think God allows poverty so that His glory may be shown … through His people doing His work … obeying that command.”

    That doesn’t sit right with me but I can’t really articulate why.

    I guess I don’t feel so much that God allows it for His ultimate glory. I feel that it has more to do with the fact that He gives us free will and we, (the collective we — humanity), often make sinful choices that hurt others and prevent all from enjoying what He has provided.

    Here’s an example:

    I think of countries that have experienced drought & famine — and simultaneously armed conflict. Stockpiles of food have sat in warehouses, prevented from reaching those in need due to war and conflict. God gave those governments/armies/militias the free will to make the choice — to allow the food to get to the people in need or to hold it back. And where they could have been humane they chose to be cruel. So it was a human choice — a sinful choice — and people died because of it.

    I don’t know…I need to think more.

  19. Tim Glenn
    Jul 15, 2008
    at 3:27 pm

    Lisa,

    I agree with you. And I understand what you’re saying.

    When there are obstacles in our lives that seem insurmountable…impossible to man…they are not impossible to God. And I think God allows suffering–in our personal lives–so that we may learn to rely on Him as the solution.

    I believe the same with global poverty. He allows it, so that we rely on Him for the answer…whether that be through grassroots efforts by His people…or miracles we cannot explain. But all…all….for His glory.

  20. Sarah
    Jul 15, 2008
    at 3:38 pm

    Tim, I was following this post most of the day and your last comment really made me angry. God ALLOWS poverty to exist? I’m sorry, but I feel that your theological understandings are very flawed. Poverty is not something that God allows, rather it is a result of systems of power and control. Your simplistic world view of an all powerful God who allows everything in the world to be good or evil is just that – too simplistic. Imagine telling someone in poverty that God is allowing them to live in poverty. This really borders on a theology of health and wealth – “If I believe in Jesus, I will have material gain”. While I agree that we need to do all in our power to alleviate poverty, I feel that your theology results in patronizing acts of charity – where the solidarity and incarnational acts of Christ never occur to the wealthy, comfortable giver. It remains a system of haves and have-nots – those who maintain their power by “giving” charity, while the poor are shamed into receiving it. May we move beyond these simplistic notions of what God allows in the world and actually see the dignity of people. The POOR are PEOPLE created by GOD. Our unjust system of power allows us to maintain our happy distance so we can continue to refer to them as poor, offer our charity, sponsor our child, without actually changing our lives and the prevailing system of GREED that we benefit from.

  21. Tim Glenn
    Jul 15, 2008
    at 3:51 pm

    Sarah,

    If God isn’t allowing poverty to exist, then why does it?

    He obviously hasn’t rid the world of poverty.

    I agree with you that poverty is the result of systems and control (and I would also add greed, environmental factors, etc.)…but how can you say God isn’t allowing those things to exist?

    Does God not allow sin to exist in the world anymore? I think it’s obvious HE does. It’s all part of the “free will” thing.

    I’m concerned though, that you make the leap from my argument…to the the assumption that I believe in “health and wealth theology.” I don’t believe I said any such thing…and I certainly don’t believe in that.

  22. Jul 15, 2008
    at 4:47 pm

    No one’s brought up the fact that God has many times brought suffering upon people when they are going astray. Is it cruel to say such a thing, even though there are lots of Biblical examples? But … God also allows those that are faithful to him to suffer – it builds character and can make us closer to him.

    I need to go lay down now!!!

  23. Jul 15, 2008
    at 5:32 pm

    I believe that poverty and sin are very much related. That doesn’t mean that when someone is poor that they deserve it or that it is a direct consequence of their sin. For instance the husband who leaves his wife and commits adultery and leaves his family without a source of income can cause the whole family to spiral down into deep poverty. There was sin involved, but the ones, who bear the brunt of the sin are the children. The issue with it isn’t really who sinned.

    In John 9:2, the disciples asked Jesus about a blind person: “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Jesus’ answer was: “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

    Thus the issue is that poverty gives us a unique opportunity to be a display of God’s work.

    So, we might never be able to end poverty, just like we will never be able to clean up the earth of all sin, but we can be used by God in the midst of it, which is the very thing that God tends to do all the time, to not change the circumstances, but to show His Power in the midst of circumstances.

    Kees

  24. Jul 15, 2008
    at 5:44 pm

    Holly and Glenn:

    I agree with you and didn’t mean to imply that, while poverty is a result of sin, its antithesis (wealth, if that really is the antithesis of poverty) is a sure sign of God’s blessing. Absolutely not.

    Likewise, poverty itself (in the financial sense) is not a sure sign of a lack of God’s blessing. Having traveled widely in developing countries, I have met many who, contented, count themselves blessed despite their poverty.

    But my point was that poverty does exist because of sin. And it remains, because sin remains. Nonetheless we must renew our commitment to “taking a bite” out of it with all that is within us.

  25. Jul 15, 2008
    at 7:14 pm

    The exchange between Sarah and Tim reminds me of my earliest teaching on the Will of God, and it boils down to the distinction between God’s permissive will and His perfect will. Yes, God permits all manner of ills and evils in this world, that would not have entered into our world, if Adam and Eve had not sinned.

    But permitting people to sin and/or to suffer, and wanting that kind of life for His creation, are not the same thing. Yes, He could wipe out poverty by dumping a whole lot of resources on people who have none, right now. He could end sickness by healing everyone in hospitals or wherever they happen to be. He could intervene to protect every child who is about to be abused. But He doesn’t.

    It’s really up to us, as individuals, when bad things happen to us or to a loved one, to seek God’s way through it; to look for a way to cooperate with Him to make “all things work together for the good of those who love Him….” That’s where His glory comes in, I believe, where we can make some meaning out of the senseless, and find comfort and joy replacing our sorrow.

  26. Miriam
    Jul 15, 2008
    at 10:53 pm

    <> Man, I’m done with this blog. I came here because there wasn’t enough country news under the “Country News” section. Yes, I read all of the crisis reports. (Didn’t know that made me a Super Sponsor.) I’m just so tired of brothers and sisters in the family of God despising each other. So I think I will heed the advice of scripture and steer clear of vain arguments.

  27. Jul 15, 2008
    at 11:02 pm

    When I said we need each other, I meant it in this way — she needs my financial support, prayers, encouragement, love and confirmation; I need her friendship, prayers, faith, contentment and trust. Without her, I would most likely die in greed and without a proper perspective on this world of suffering and injustice. I’m thankful Compassion has brought down the walls of poverty, so to speak, so I can see the need out there and rise up to help alleviate it. I never expected it, but I have truly benefitted just as much as she has, maybe even more. I’m not talking about “feeling better about myself;” I’m talking about true change in my inner being — less greed and selfishness; more contentment and true love and compassion.

  28. Tim Glenn
    Jul 15, 2008
    at 11:12 pm

    Miriam,

    So sorry to hear that you read it that way. I don’t know if I hear any “despising” going on…and, for what it’s worth, I think the discussion has been fairly healthy. It’s good for us to talk about these things…debate them…chew on ‘em for a little while and see where it all leads.

    Steve,
    True…interesting point. In fact, God HAS used famine and poverty as a curse upon the unrighteous.

    “When I shall send upon them the evil arrows of famine, which shall be for their destruction, and which I will send to destroy you: and I will increase the famine upon you, and will break your staff of bread.” Ezekiel 5:16

    Now, I’m not saying that global poverty is God’s punishment. I believe that global poverty exists for a number of reasons that I’ve pointed out in our comments section…and He has commanded His people to be fervent in responding to it. I don’t think He tells us to end poverty. I DO think He tells us to be obedient and follow the mandate He has given us to care for the poor.

    Good point.

  29. Jul 16, 2008
    at 12:33 am

    I think debate and discussion are healthy. I hope people don’t leave the blog or shy away from kicking around ideas together. (Please Miriam, don’t leave!) I have so much to learn and everyone here has a unique viewpoint that makes me think…

    As for God allowing suffering & Biblical precedent — Job would be an example. God allowed Satan to tempt Job — and Satan tempted him until God said, “no more.”

    Satan took away Job’s wealth, his health, his children, etc. Yet Job stayed faithful and refused to curse God. And I think that’s the lesson in Job.

    I’m not going to draw any conclusions as to how Job relates to those who suffer from poverty in today’s world — but Job is certainly a good book to read to learn about a man who had nothing left to cling to but God.

  30. Jul 16, 2008
    at 1:50 am

    well said, Lisa

  31. Miriam
    Jul 16, 2008
    at 8:20 am

    “I think you’re right, Ben…but I think it’s a sad statement on the spiritual health of the Church in the West that we have to use a “marketing phrase” like “end poverty” to get people mobilized.”

    No, Tim, it isn’t something you have to do, it’s something Compassion chooses to do. Frankly, I wish Wes would heed his own advice when it comes to his American marketing.

    But then, for having a similar background, Wes and I could find lots to argue about. But they also would be vain arguments and only bring disunity, so I don’t argue. I have better things to do.

  32. Jul 16, 2008
    at 8:21 am

    Vicki and Kees,

    Perhaps you guys should’ve written this post! Excellent points in both of your comments…and perhaps you’ve said it much clearer than I did.

    This has been a good discussion guys. Maybe we should just post the question on this blog: Why does poverty exist? And start a dialogue. Could be very interesting.

  33. Meredith
    Jul 16, 2008
    at 8:30 am

    Wow,

    I felt like I was reading a dialogue from a UN convention. So many view points. So many valid arguments.

    Personally, I completely agree with Mr. Glen. Like you said early on, the Lord allows poverty so that His grace and power may be displayed though those who suffer, first for His glory, then for their comfort, and then for our conviction.

    It says in Romans 1:20 that “God’s attributes, His invisible qualitites, namely his divine nature and eternal power have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So that they are without excuse.”

    Do I believe that we are to live openhanded and be good stweards with our personal resources? Absolutely. But I don’t worry about those who are in poverty. The fact of the matter is this: God knows their situation and circumstance better than we do, and He is in complete control of their future, whether it be short or long.

    Does He wish that any should perish? No! So He has provided for them, through the beauty of His creation, a testiment to who He is. Americans are scared to be so desperate, deprived, and desolate. But I think that it is in this place that God’s glory is most clearly revealed and the most genuine and passionate need for Him is born.

    Materialism and possessions often obscure our vision of God because we don’t think we need Him. They know that they need Him and so they are blessed in Spirit.

    I’m not worried about them. They are in the grip of grace.

  34. Jul 16, 2008
    at 10:23 am

    “They are in the grip of grace.”

    Man I like that.

    I wish I had come up with that.

    Nicely done, Meredith.

  35. Jul 16, 2008
    at 10:26 am

    Miriam said, “No, Tim, it isn’t something you have to do, it’s something Compassion chooses to do. Frankly, I wish Wes would heed his own advice when it comes to his American marketing.”

    Miriam,

    I was simply responding to Ben’s insinuation that the phrase, “the generation that will end poverty” is a secular marketing phrase/angle.

    Not sure what you mean by “Wes(s) heading his own advice. Could you expound on that?”

  36. Jul 16, 2008
    at 2:16 pm

    Tim, thanks for your comment to Kees and me. Truth is, you did a great job of writing that post. Look how much thought and discussion you provoked! I’ve loved reading and participating in it, as I have thought the discussion healthy and friendly. In fact, many of us have said basically the same things, just in our own words with perhaps a slightly different slant.

    So…what do you write about for an encore? :o)

  37. Jul 16, 2008
    at 2:20 pm

    In case you want to pursue a different but similar idea, this question is now seeking answers.
    Why Does Poverty Exist?

  38. Stevi
    Jul 16, 2008
    at 2:53 pm

    I agree that “ending poverty” is a secular marketing tool to help motivate people to be generous toward the poor. That marketing tool works because of our culture’s obsession with measurable goals and instant gratification. If the call to “end poverty” motivates people to be more generous, selfless and compassionate, I think it’s a positive thing.

    I have no problem with supporting and teaming up with unbelievers who wish to help the poor. I think that learning to be compassionate and generous will bring them closer to God, maybe soften their heart so that they can hear Him more easily. Churches that invite non-Christians to join them in their volunteer work often see the unbelievers become seekers and seekers become Christians when they start working side-by-side with Christians who lovingly dispense God’s grace in its various forms.

    The worry I have is that when poverty hasn’t been conquered by 2015, that people will lose heart, lose interest, and become disillusioned. That’s why, as Christians, we need to remember that the road to ending poverty can’t be measured in months and years. We won’t reach the destination until Jesus returns. But that doesn’t mean we can just hang out on the side of the road, waiting for Jesus to show up and fix it all. We have to keep moving forward, working as Christ’s hands and feet as He continues his redeeming work in this world.

  39. Jul 16, 2008
    at 3:09 pm

    It’s good to read a healthy conversation is taking place on this subject. I may disagree with you theologically, but it’s cool to see the conversation happening. I was thinking more about this last night and I don’t say this to provoke people, but I do think we can end EXTREME poverty. There is a big distinction there. 1 billion people live on less than $1 a day. I think this is what most people mean when they say we can end poverty. China is a good example. A few years ago, many rural poor were making less than $1 a day. With development efforts, many saw their income dramatically increase. This article is a bit unrelated, but I find it encouraging: http://blog.google.org/2008/07/technology-leaps-in-africa.html

    Thanks for the conversation.

  40. Jul 16, 2008
    at 3:17 pm

    Holly…

    I am SO GLAD you posted that!

    Yes…I think you’re absolutely right. I think we CAN END “extreme” poverty. We can change the world to make sure no one is living on less than a dollar a day. Not overnight, but it CAN be done.

    Perhaps that’s where international efforts should be focused?…shifting global economies to provide more equality. But then again, they’d have to be willing to change that whole “system of greed, etc.”

    Interesting.

  41. Jul 16, 2008
    at 3:22 pm

    Vicki,

    You’re welcome. It was well-deserved.

    I don’t get to write for the blog as often as I do. Right now, I’m at a conference in Chicago, so I keep checking in between sessions, etc…to keep up with comments.

    I do have another blog post that’s going to come out, I think tomorrow…MUCH DIFFERENT type of post…a story about a miracle.

  42. Jul 16, 2008
    at 3:24 pm

    sorry…meant to say “I don’t get to write for the blog as often as I’d like to…”

  43. Steven Williams
    Jul 17, 2008
    at 6:18 am

    If then it has been confirmed that we cannot completely rid the world of poverty, our goal could be to eliminate poverty for all but one.

  44. Jul 17, 2008
    at 9:07 am

    Well, if you look back at the very first line of this blog post, I said I was hoping to start a healthy discussion.

    I would say we’ve done just that!

    It’s been fun, educational and invigorating. Whaddya wanna talk about now?

    :?)

  45. Jul 17, 2008
    at 10:34 am

    I read this post and the comments last night, took some time to think, and here’s what I came up with:

    Have you ever heard of a guy named Rob Bell? During a talk he gave a few years ago, he used an illustration about a marker. If we look at a marker from a 2 deminsional point of view, from the side, it kinda looks like a rectangle. But if we look at it from the top, it looks like a circle. So, is the marker a rectangle, or a circle? From one’s limited point of view, it’s either one or the other. But in all truth, the answer to the question, is it a circle, or a rectangle is… YEP.

    I think the poverty question has the same answer. Can we end poverty, or is it impossible for us to end poverty? The answer is YEP. There are a few examples from scripture where there were NO needy people among the community of believers, because they shared everything.
    Acts 4:32-35: “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. THERE WERE NO NEEDY PERSONS AMONG THEM. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.”

    This tells me that poverty can be ended in a community where all are working for that same goal, and are following Jesus’ example.

    However, the bible does clearly say that “you will always have the poor among you…” so, this tells me that we are merely humans and we cannot single-handedly meet the needs of every human on the planet. That’s where people get frustrated, when they find out that as hard as they may work, day and night, to end poverty, one human being, or even a whole group of human beings cannot save the world. There would have to be a supernatural savior to be able to do that. OH, wait! There is! His name is Jesus, the perfect human being, yet still God. Only God can save the world, can end poverty. Our job is to join Him.

  46. Jul 17, 2008
    at 11:43 am

    “It’s been fun, educational and invigorating. Whaddya wanna talk about now?”

    Putting an end to selfishness…How does a Christian accomplish that?

  47. Sara
    Jul 18, 2008
    at 12:33 am

    I just found this discussion and have enjoyed reading all of the comments. I have a comment that kinda tags on to the last topic.
    There is a story that I have heard a few times that motivates me that whether poverty can be eradicated or not, every “bite” counts.

    A man was walking along the beach and saw hundreds of starfish lying all over the sand. He saw a young boy was walking along throwing the starfish back into the ocean one at a time. The man called out to him, “why are you doing that? It won’t make a difference!” The little boy threw one more starfish into the ocean and said, “it made a difference for that one”

    I think that we are called to do what we can were we are. Making a difference for that one child, that one family.

  48. [...] at the Compassion International blog there’s a lengthy discussion (see comments) on “Why We Can’t End Poverty.” The author of the post provokes thought when he says, ” I don’t think we’re called [...]

  49. [...] 21 07 2008 I’ve always thought eradication should be the goal. But after reading this post, it got me [...]

  50. Jul 25, 2008
    at 4:52 am

    yes… i completely agree with u that we can never end poverty… but v can always make an initiative… may be this initiative can help poor to fulfill atleast their basic necessity… this initiative will atleast b an eye openers for greedy n make them aware of things going around them…n if we all come together n work towards it then m sure it will make a difference …think abt it ;)
    I am voluntarily working with the United Nations on its Millennium Development Goals serving a cause end poverty 2015.
    i m making an initiative n mark my words it will make a difference :)

  51. Shannon
    Jul 26, 2008
    at 3:31 pm

    It is great to read all of these comments. I guess I will also throw in my two cents (but no stones.. ha ha) I agree with the opinion that we can’t end poverty. Actually, I believe we are just seeing the beginning of much worst times to come. I only say this because the scriptures describe a world that continues to decay before Christ returns. However, I agree that we should all be responding to His call to serve the poor and fight against injustice. When we face our Lord Jesus Christ, his very words will be regarding what we did for the least of these. Christ came to serve. In order to follow Him, we must too serve.

  52. Aug 14, 2008
    at 6:05 am

    I was the first to respond to this text and now a few weeks later I’m again drawn to it and I have to respond again! :-) I’m writing an introduction for our internal newsletter and am talking about what WE can do – that it starts with ourselves. We always think the grass is greener at the other side of the fence. Even though I’m not materialistic AT ALL – I also have my weaknesses in this. I know that. I don’t want to point any fingers, but I DO want to challenge people. I’m going to use a small part of this blog too… to challenge them on that! Thanks again for sharing!

    Wendy

  53. Heather
    Aug 20, 2008
    at 11:03 pm

    Poverty can’t be ended plain and simple but it CAN be alleviated and extreme poverty can probably be fixed. Poverty comes in many shapes and forms,depending on the country and people and has many factors to it. Many things lead to poverty-war,famine,disease,poor family planning,alcolism,drug abuse,mental illness,laziness,and the list could go on and on.
    To actually end poverty you would have to end all of the above. I grew up incredibly poor,caused by my fathers mental illness and unwillingness and inability to work at times caused by untreated mental illness. I’ve lived in wherehouses,cars,in hotel rooms,on the kindness of strangers-all as a small child.
    I realize I wasn’t extremely poor like most of the Compassion children but I was pretty poor by American standards.Just thought I should add something more personal to this whole discussion!!

  54. Sep 18, 2008
    at 5:10 am

    This is a very interesting topic,can we really end poverty?i do not think is possiable,until the word accept the truth and believed i the loved of christ,must people are born into poverty and live with poverty,and they are use to poverty,am taking as Africa Nigeria while the rich make friend with the rich and poor make friends with the poor,you will need to understood that the poor people have poor friends while the rich have rich friends,is a very funny world we are liveing.
    It is only God with the direction of the holy spirit that w<e be able to saved the Poor.

  55. ANDREW
    Sep 25, 2008
    at 7:24 pm

    MY BELIEF IS THAT I KNOW GOD EXISTS. I KNOW HEAVEN EXISTS AND I THANK GOD EVERY MINUTE OF MY LIFE FOR THAT BELIEF.I BELIEVE THAT HE WANTS US TO MAKE THIS THING CALLED LIFE WORK BUT IT”S GOING TO TAKE ALL OF US DOING IT TOGETHER AND MAYBE HE KNOW’S THAT’S OUR WEAKNESS SO I WONDER SOMETIMES IF WE CONTINUE TO FAIL AS IN USA 2008 ECONOMY(MANY OF MY FAMILY RECENTLY LAYED OFF INCLUDING MYSELF AND MY WIFE).NOT FOR ME AND MY WIFE BUT FOR MY GRANDKIDS IF OUR HUMAN INSTALLED SYSTEMS CONTINUE TO FAIL ATLEAST I KNOW THE SYSTEMS JESUS WILL INSTALL WILL WORK. AND FOLKS HE DOES EXIST AND MAYBE NOT IN MY LIFETIME BUT HE IS COMING BACK.

  56. Andrea Genung
    Oct 12, 2008
    at 11:58 pm

    As Compassion states, the opposite of Poverty is not wealth – it’s enough. The definition of “enough” is different in every culture. Here in America, 70% of those the IRS labels as “poor” own a cell phone. What is “enough” depends greatly on where you live.

    We may not be able to end Poverty, but we can get people to “enough”.

  57. Cristine
    Apr 17, 2009
    at 6:49 am

    Hi All, i believe poverty is a state of mind. Not exactly the state of your finances, nor the amount of goods you may have.
    A man might be wealthy in worldly riches yet be impoverished in the knowledge of the freedom that Christ our Lord has brought to us all. “Psalm 39:6
    Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it.”
    Meaning that in the end, the riches and wealth will be a waste, for surely if you are in the steps of our Lord, you will indeed be brought up to heaven where earthly riches there are none. Also, it says about riches and wealth in Proverbs 11:4:
    “Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.”
    Righteousness is a character of the person, God gives us righteousness as a free gift when He gave us Jesus, but we don’t execute that righteousness unless we leave our poverty state of mind and accept the wealth of the Kingdom and seek the Lord for the guidelines to access righteousness. Isaiah 60:17
    “Instead of bronze I will bring you gold, and silver in place of iron. Instead of wood I will bring you bronze, and iron in place of stones. I will make peace your governor and righteousness your ruler.”

    I’m not casting stones, and if i offend anyone, please forgive me, love you all.

  58. Apr 17, 2009
    at 8:20 am

    When Cristine’s comment came across my mailbox, I re-read some of this discussion. I’ll tell you one thing — we can definitely end poverty for individual children. Mother Theresa probably knew the poor as well as anyone. She said a lot of profound things:

    “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”

    “It’s the greatest poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”

    “When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.”

    Through the love and mercy of God, sponsor a child today and end the poverty of at least one child today!

    http://www.compassion.com

    For more great quotes on the subjects of children and poverty, see:

    http://www.compassion.com/child-advocacy/find-your-voice/famous-quotes/default.htm

  59. [...] want to point out a piece by Tim Glenn, Compassion International’s U.S. Advocacy Director, called “Why We Can’t End Poverty.” In this post you’ll find none of the high-handed presumption that the only thing keeping us [...]

  60. Roger McKinney
    Apr 17, 2009
    at 12:16 pm

    I became interested in economics after visiting Africa and discovering its shocking poverty. Later, I earned a masters degree in economics and my favorite class was on third world economic development. While interesting, I still didn’t know the answer to why poverty exists. It took me at least another decade of further reading in economics to understand.

    Historians of economics say that the standard of living of most of mankind changed very little from the time of Adam and Eve to Adam Smith. The size of the middle class was tiny, as was the nobility. 95% + of people were on the verge of starvation and famines killed millions on a regular basis. Instead of business cycles, they had famine cycles when the population would outgrow the food supply. There was very little difference in standards of living between nations.

    Why did God allow such poverty for most of our history? Clearly, it comes from the curse God placed on the earth after He kicked Adam and Eve out of the Garden. That curse made it difficult to grow enough food to support a growing population. The 19th century economist Malthus wrote about the problem.

    Then something unusual happened: the Dutch Republic was born. In the late 16th century Dutch Protestants created a new society based on Biblical principles. In the sphere of the economy, they emphasized private property because the Bible places great importance on it. In fact, the prohibitions of theft and covetousness are two of the Ten Commandments. Both are the negative form of the positive command to respect the property of others.

    Ironically, the intellectual source of Dutch thinking came from the Catholic scholars at the Spanish school of Salamanca. Leonardo Lessius brought scholastic thought on economics to the Dutch before the revolution. The Dutch created institutions to protect private property of the poor from the rich and from the state. Very quickly, the Dutch became the wealthiest and most powerful nation in Europe without having attacked and looted its neighbors. And the Dutch were the first people in world history to escape the Malthusian cycles of famine. Their institutions spread to England and the US and became known as capitalism. Eventually, Western Europe and the US became enormously wealthier than the rest of the world. But they did not get their wealth by taking it from others as the Spanish had stolen the gold of the Incas. Under capitalism, the West created new wealth; they increased the total wealth of the entire world.

    Unfortunately for the rest of the world, the West grew tired of capitalism in the late 19th century. As a result, capitalism did not spread much beyond it. The poor people of the world, such as those in Africa, were stuck in pre-capitalist systems. Today, their standards of living are slightly better than those of Europeans before capitalism. The solution to poverty is capitalism, but socialist ideology, primitive religions and greed on the part of the ruling class prevent its adoption.

    Capitalism requires the assumptions, institutions and morality of Protestant Christianity to survive. Capitalism is much more than just free markets. A free market is just one institution that protects property rights. Capitalism also requires the rule of law, honest courts and police and government to protect against fraud and theft. It’s no coincidence that socialism has ascended in the West as Christianity has declined. Poverty is sad, but even sadder when you realize how unnecessary it is.

  61. Garry
    Apr 17, 2009
    at 3:06 pm

    “But to make sure everyone gets their fair share, it would mean an end to greed and corruption. It would mean a massive shift in human nature. I don’t think this generation, or any other, can accomplish that.” I believe you answered your own question. Greed and corruption are two things that will always be in play as long as the sinful nature is intact. All you can do is do your best as an individual to make an impact.

  62. Teri Schultz
    Apr 17, 2009
    at 3:42 pm

    @Juli Jarvis

    Comment #3 – WELL said!

  63. Apr 18, 2009
    at 11:23 pm

    I like that post by Roger…

    I always say: “If it ain’t Dutch, it ain’t much!” I’m just kidding. I guess you all know that I’m Dutch, right?

    The sad thing is that as a nation, the Netherlands have rejected those very principles that made them successful.

    Kees

  64. Apr 25, 2009
    at 8:56 pm

    I’m always curious if we talk about poverty from the wrong angle. Poverty is more prevalent historically than affluence; i.e. more people are living on not very much, or in poverty, than are living in wealth. Instead of asking ourselves, “Where does poverty come from?” we could be asking, “How does wealth become the norm in a society?” While many answers are part of that, some moral, some economic, what then happens is we see the way for those in poverty to perhaps become able to move out of it. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But eventually. Slowly, kinda like the kingdom growing “as a mustard seed.”

  65. May 6, 2009
    at 6:55 pm

    I have been a missonary in Tijuana, Mexico for 8 years now. I see the poverty and it makes my heart ache. At one time it made my heart cry out to God and ask “why, why, we work and work and work, and we have barely scratched the surface, when will it end?” and the answer I got back was very hard. Like what was said in the blog, it will never end, it is the result of sin entering the world. And as christians, it is our duty to take care of the less forturnate and show our love to the world.

  66. Byron
    May 6, 2009
    at 11:41 pm

    I think the best way to deal with it is good education and good schooling ! Why give a man a fish and then he will be hungry the next day but if we are to teach them how to fish then thay wont go hungry. its a very good thing to help the needy but the leaders of there land should step up and make this possible. If thay do this you will see a new generation that can grow into a self supportive generation so this is a slow progress but its how it needs to happen !

  67. May 7, 2009
    at 9:03 am

    I would add that if we rest in Him (Hebrews 4:1) and seek truth (that from the mouth of Jesus) people would recognize the truth in what you wrote.
    It’s simple. We cannot end poverty. For those who live in pride which causes you to react, that doesn’t mean we’re not to give to all who ask. If a man came out of a 7-11 and spit on you and then asked for $5 would you give it to him? If not, is it becaue of how he treated you? Is there a negative emotion attached to his actions? That’s what pride looks like. Pride caues the fall of Satan. Give from compassion which is something we have to learn. If it was natural, God would not tell us that what comes from us naturally is what leads to death, nor would he have rebuked the religious leaders for not having it, while tithing even spices. They were meticulous in their obeyence, yet they didn’t know Christ or love others, even though they could explain it. They had “reason” why they didn’t love those who weren’t perfect.

    What can we do? Be just (justice) instead of fair. Be a peacemaker. Give up your right to be right. Be a loving, not hatefilled voice for the voiceless. Walk by His strenght, now your own, own will or desires. Lay down your heavy mantle and pick up His light one. Listen to what He says, instead of your own fears and doubts. I’m sure it didn’t make any sense to the disciples who went into town looking for a strange man that they had to say a few words to, and this stranger would know who they were and lead them to the prepared upper room or that the owner of the colt wouldn’t mind them taking it. Trust Jesus, not your own understaning. Heed God, not your own understanding. Take the word “but” and throw it out of your vocabulary and see if you don’t see the truth in God’s words. Blessings all.

  68. May 7, 2009
    at 9:06 am

    But the Bible does say that we are suppose to help others. I think we should do everything possible, and this is definately one way.

  69. May 7, 2009
    at 12:17 pm

    God is the only One that can end poverty; that’s for sure — and He’s doing so, one child at a time — as He wakes us up to these wonderful opportunities to sponsor children — one at a time. It takes care of their poverty of body and my poverty of soul…all at once!

  70. Jeanette
    May 8, 2009
    at 5:29 pm

    When I think of the huge idea of ending world poverty I feel overwhelmed. Especially since we struggle financially every day. But I know that God doesn’t want me to lose heart and give up. That is why I am so greatful to Compassion for giving me a way to help 2 of those children in need. I think if everyone does their part, large or small, We can end world poverty. But I won’t get discouraged because others don’t do their part. I am just so thankful that I can change the lives of 2 children.

  71. Jeanette
    May 8, 2009
    at 5:34 pm

    @Joel Laramee – You know that in order to help these children Compassion has to work with their governments, corrupt or not. Compassion is not an organization dedicated to social, ie goverment change. It is dedicated to helping individual children, their families, and their communities. There are other organizations dedicated to effect change in corrupt governments, etc.

  72. Jeanette
    May 8, 2009
    at 5:43 pm

    @Lisa Miles – I totally agree with you that God does not allow poverty so that he can be glorified. I believe that every situation can be change by God to his glory, but the situation itself, ie poverty exists solely because it is a sinful world. Whether some person, group, government, is responsible or it is just the state of the world right now, it is because of sin. It is kind of like people wwo are sick or die. Most of the time no person, etc. sinned to cause that to happen, it is just because we still live in a sinful world.

  73. Jeanette
    May 8, 2009
    at 5:47 pm

    @Vicki Small -Well said Vicki.

  74. ashy
    May 9, 2009
    at 11:23 pm

    true ( i think) but if you were poor would you like to have no one helping you? I don’t know about you but i would sleep better knowing that i was being helped- if i was poor that is-!

  75. Amanda
    May 12, 2009
    at 7:53 am

    I think we’re supposed to give ONLY when the Spirit leads us. I came to Jesus when I hit rock bottom, when I had NO OTHER OPTIONS. What if that $5 you gave the homeless guy kept him from hitting rock bottom? Aren’t you getting in the way of him and God? Are you then a stubbling block?

  76. [...] with an orthodox lawyer/professor on the compatibility of the two.  And a related article on not ending poverty.  And just for fun, a short piece for small church pastors on not allowing a capitalistic mindset [...]

  77. Robert
    May 29, 2009
    at 7:26 am

    Thank you for your post. It is plain that Jesus told us we always have the poor with us. I am saddened to see untruths being championed. I also see God being blamed for poverty. When God created the world, He declared it very good. THAT is God’s work… now the destruction and havoc and suffering we see is the result of rebellion and refusing to follow the Father’s loving commands.

    Amanda’s post about being sure the Holy Spirit is directing our actions is important to keep in mind. We need to stay close to Him to avoid getting “in the way”. We should remember too that God is bigger than we are and he can and does intercede to accomplish His purposes. We are not in a position to judge God or question His goodness and love. He has plainly told us that He loves us and Jesus went to the cross to prove it.

    I share your concern about ideas like “ending poverty” leading Christians away from our true calling… to walk with Jesus immersing ourselves in the good works He prepared beforehand for us to do by the power the Holy Spirit.

    For my part I pray I will continue to care and give as He wants me too. Most important to me is God’s love for me and the salvation He has brought me. I am interested in others receiving all I have received… firstly peace and companionship with God and all the blessings that come with that including my physical needs which He amply and generously has provided all these 52 years of my life. I owe Him everything. God is good… we are not.

  78. Valerie
    May 30, 2009
    at 1:18 pm

    I realize I’m coming to this post a bit late, but many of the opinions here really struck a chord with me.

    I’m also coming from a different angle with regards to faith at the moment. My faith is pretty shaky at the moment though it’s better than it was even 6 months to a year ago. I was raised in a very judgmental, controlling, rule-based church. I was also severely abused by someone from that church (NOT my parents, thank the Lord) within the church building.

    I only bring that part up because a year ago, the words that “God allows it” would’ve totally enraged me. I still have a hard time with that piece of it. That he “allowed” it to happen within what’s supposed to be “His” house.

    I often think about Job and wonder how he did what he did and survived what he survived without turning away from God. I certainly don’t have that kind of faith.

    I know that God provides because I’ve seen it in my own life in that my father was often out of work when I was a child and many times the only reason my parents were able to keep our house is because someone in the church provided
    a check for the payment. So I’ve seen that, which I guess is part of where my own desire to give come from. I want to “pay it forward” so to speak and help others.

    Also, the church my parents attend now is much much more compassion-oriented than the church I grew up in and that’s made an impression on me as well. Most of their ministries involve the poor among us, single Moms, the homeless, etc. The other thing that has made an impression on me there is that they do allow those who don’t attend services regularly to help out with ministries. That would’ve never happened in the church I grew up in.

    I think we need more people like that in this day and age. People who are willing to LOVE people and bring them to Jesus that way and not judge people which only fosters hatred and animosity towards each other.

    I look at organizations like American Family Association and others whose “Calls to Action” incite so much animosity and hatred and I can’t help but wonder if there’s a better way. I’m not saying we need to condone the sins of others, just that it seems to me that Jesus would want us to find ways of lovingly reaching out to these people instead of just attacking at every turn.

    The same can be said with regard to poverty. So many people tend to blame governments or the people themselves for their poverty and yet, Compassion and others have shown that by showing LOVE and acceptance to these people, you CAN change lives.

    LOVE is the key. Sometimes I think we lose sight of that. I know I do.

    I know I’ve rambled a lot but hopefully it makes sense to someone and perhaps even provokes some more healthy discussion.

  79. May 31, 2009
    at 3:09 pm

    @Valerie – Thanks for a great post! I couldn’t agree more.

  80. Sarah K
    Jun 1, 2009
    at 4:28 am

    What happened to you, Valerie, breaks my heart to hear about it. And my heart has been broken up a lot lately by similar things that have happened to people I know. I have been wrestling a lot with the questions of why some are allowed to happen. I will share some thoughts here but I feel that I can barely say what I want to say, or all that I want to say. Some of the stuff that I’ve been reading lately has really been transforming my view of God’s heart, and I’m starting to experience what I’ve been reading about and it’s been hitting me that much deeper…but it’s too much to express or to talk about in just a few words.

    My first instinct is to share with you something I also tried to share with a friend of mine recently, a girl who is going through a lot right now. (It was something that had helped my heart, which I was hoping would comfort her too.) I told my friend that God is grieving with her right now…but she found this really hard to accept, since God can do anything and He is “allowing” this to happen, He knew it was going to happen and He hasn’t stopped it. And while God hasn’t stepped in yet to alleviate this particular suffering (it is a terrible physical affliction), yet I know that His heart towards her is such that He does not desire her pain. “For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men,” Lamentations 3:33. God would never wish a bad thing to happen to her. God loves us intensely to an unimaginable degree, and everything that hurts us hurts Him because it hurts us.

    So why does God still “allow” terrible things to happen, even to us who look to Him for shelter? Can we really trust a God who doesn’t always (seemingly) step in to save us? What is He doing when He doesn’t appear to be actively defending us? Is He still defending us? Is this really God’s Will that we suffer so much? The following thoughts may be just the beginning of an answer, but they have helped me to gain some perspective.

    John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy…but I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” What God wants and what the Devil wants are complete opposites. Satan wounds, God heals. Satan takes captive, God sets free. And although God does not step in every time to prevent every instance of harm that the enemy causes, His activity against the Devil’s works does not cease and God’s hatred of what Satan is doing is never less. Abuse of His loved ones is never “okay” with God. The source of this grief is not God. If God “causes” us any pain, He is only setting the broken bone, or cleansing the wound. It may hurt, but it is the best and only way to heal the fracture or the cut. (And He’s sorry that it hurts. But He won’t let it go unhealed and let it hurt you even worse.) Satan is the abusing one…God is the healer, the kind and compassionate and repectful lover of our souls.

    It is true that God can “technically” do anything. But that does not mean everything that happens is His desire or what He wants. We know that God’s Perfect Will is not done on earth right now…His desire is not done by fallen angels or evil men, quite the opposite. And it angers God, and it grieves Him greatly. We know God’s ultimate goal will come to pass, and that He is bringing it to pass even now despite everything that the enemy is doing. But God does not bring a good thing into being by questionable means, using shady methods. He has a blameless heart. Satan attacks…but God arms us to fight. Satan steals…but God restores, and meanwhile He calls to us through our losses, pleading with us to know His heart (that He doesn’t want to lose us…and we don’t want to lose Him).

    The simple reason we have pain is because God is allowing all of us the freedom to choose…angels and human beings…and we can choose to love or to hate, we can take sides with good or evil. And with that freedom comes a world in which evil is often chosen and all are made vulnerable to a great extent of pain. But God is suffering too. He suffers more than any of us because of all the evil that is happening. He alone knows the full extent of it, He sees it, and feels it all. It is painful, this evil that God can’t stop without sacrificing his greater cause. But freedom MUST be for a good cause, for the best cause…it must be worth it, for us and for God (because it is God’s nature to be totally loving) or He would never have allowed it to be. It must be worth it, despite everything, for us to be able to live free, for people to be able to choose freely to love or to reject God (and all that is good which comes from Him).

    So I ask, God, how do you cope with this? So many that choose to reject, choose to hate? All of this loss? All the evil that you see? Your precious ones spitting in your face, despising you…working to hurt, to wound, and attacking those that you love? Ignoring one another, harming one another, robbing one another, killing one another? Your treasured ones not caring about all the wonderful things you do and desire to do for them? You’ve only ever wanted to bless them, to love them beyond their wildest dreams…Lord, is it really worth the grief? Is it worth it to love, if there are so many who turn away?

    Is there a joy that pain cannot touch, a joy no loss can truly dampen? Is there an end worth so much struggle? Is there a joy and a delight that is worth all this to bring it into being…worth the cost, worth the fight? Is the reward of loving truly bigger than all of this suffering…so much so, that as the scriptures say, we will later forget these things as light and momentary troubles?

    And I know what the answer is, but it can be hard to see when the pain is fresh. But it is worth it. God is worth it. He will show you it is worth it. God’s love is worth it, having Him is worth it…and all that we gain in Him and in letting Him love us, and teach us to love, is worth it. And all that He’s bringing to us later on will make all the worst that Satan can throw at us now seem small in comparison. The Devil wants us to doubt God’s love so much…but it’s real. God works unceasingly for our good and we are never abandoned, never without His caring. He will make up for the wrongs done to us, make up for the love lost, He will more than make up for our losses and all the griefs we’ve endured. In the end it will be worth it. It is worth it right now…right now what we can have on earth is worth the battle to have it. God’s love is poured out…He is coming to save…and He does not leave us comfortless. His love is always reaching out to us, touching us in all kinds of ways. We need our eyes opened so that we can see. There is peace and joy to be had, here and now. There is hope. There are better things coming, better than we can imagine, and everything we truly desire. Satan tries so hard to turn us away from the love of God, but our God will not let us go. If we will let Him show us and realize that He is everything we desire…then He shall have His desire for us and we shall have all that we desire in Him. God is determined that as many as are willing shall live gloriously with Him, enjoying His love and favor, flourishing, together, blessed forever. It begins to come to us now, and one day we shall have it in full.

    As I finish writing this I realize…outside my window the sun is rising. How fitting with how I feel as I think about what is coming, what is already on its way. And end to the night of trouble. The day is coming.

  81. Valerie Long
    Jun 2, 2009
    at 10:48 am

    @Sarah K

    Sarah, thank you for your kind words. It’s like part of me knows that it’s because of man’s free will and God didn’t really want it to happen. I think the hardest part for me to accept has been the fact that it happened AT church. I honestly don’t think my faith crisis would’ve been as bad as it’s been had it not been AT church.

    But as I said in another post in a different discussion, the 7 months I’ve been a sponsor and been reading this blog and other stories on Compassion’s website, they’ve done more to help me restore my faith than the mountain of people I know have been praying for me over the last 10 years.

    I have a LONG ways to go yet, but I can tell things are different. As I said above, a year ago I would’ve been completely enraged if someone had said “God allowed it”. I don’t feel that anger so strongly now. So it’s a start.

    I’m currently reading the book “Too Small To Ignore” by Wess Stafford and it has made me think about the same things I was talking about in my other post. What happened to the love and compassion we had for each other as a community?

    Why do we as humans think that by forcing our agenda on others, we’re going to change them? When has that EVER worked? Do suicide bombings really work to change people’s minds about religion? Not usually. Does bombing an abortion clinic or shooting a doctor change anyone’s mind on abortion? Not usually. In fact, a lot of times, it just helps solidify people’s arguments who were against you in the first place.

    But as Compassion and their ministries and others like them have shown that through LOVE, anything can be accomplished. Actions really do speak louder than words and it’s only through showing people Christ’s love that anything really changes.

    And I know I lose sight of that just as much as anyone else which is why it’s so great to have posts like this one to remind us.

  82. jane
    Jun 2, 2009
    at 2:42 pm

    Meanwhile,

    we enjoy the benefits of imperialism and the poverty, whether we want to ‘accept’ this truth or not. We, the People, are responsible, its not like we live under a despotism, absolutist monarchy where we have no say so over foreign policy,

    we Do, and the truth is, we, our former generations, have been more than happy, in moral superiority, to support politicians and capitalists, who prop up despots, who prop up and maintain through military and police terror, to keep the infrastructures, through petro dollars and free trade, that Cause poverty.

    We should be Appalled, there Was a time, in the west, where Christians, were socialists, where Christians, fought the class structure of both slavery and imperialism,

    today, its ho hum, lets just give a little, and feel ‘good’ about our offerings.

    As one, who has been poor,pregnant, alone and homeless in THIS country, as well forced to prostitute, I relate, to the poor, and, I seriously, can’t see, how we can just sit and think, that putting a Band-aid on the problem,

    when 80% of our goods ARE BLOOD GOODS, and think, we are ‘spiritually rich’?

    hardly, we are spiritually wretched and poor in this nation.

    There ARE, many, who yes, give and give of themselves, sadly however, there are far more, who live in utopia suburban bubbles, all wrapped up in the gospel of marriage, family and prosperity and of course, those moral fascist police who would install a theocracy here that would be just as ‘moral’ as Hitlers, lets not forget, he didn’t smoke, drink, or sin either, but he killed six million plus some…

    so, we feel good, because God is merciful because we have philanthropy,

    but dare we, Ever think, of changing anything…to rid the world of poverty, and What? Put those ‘savages’ equal with us! Oh my, couldn’t do that could we,

    the typical poison of the Christian and Western Imperialist influence. And we wonder, why they hate us,

    well, gee, duh…

    no, we Can’t rid the world of poverty or injustice, but, we need to do more than just offer a band aid,

    Jesus didn’t say, just give a little, no, He said,

    Give All you have, to the poor, many times. I am guilty just as much as anyone else, and I’m low income and in debt up to my ass [student loans],

    but, I do know this, there is NO EXCUSE, for us, in any way, even accepting, poverty,

    even if we can’t rid the world of it, we should be doing all in our efforts, to try. Especially, with the wealth, the stinking wealth and the IDOLATRY we have in this country,

    and that, includes the IDOLATRY in the church. We ask, why does God allow,

    no, ask instead, WHY DO WE ALLOW?

    We in this nation, fought so long to keep free trade, we opened the doors to China, never mind, that we also, sold more taser guns, that are used to torture our brothers and sisters, than any nation in the world,

    and we, live off the fruits of that profit.

    That is just but one example, we live off of the fruits of child slavery, of trafficking of women, including sexual,

    we have one of the poorest nations in our own Hemisphere, Haiti,

    it is inexcusable.

    No, I do not agree, that we don’t have a responsibility, to end poverty,

    whether we can or not, is not the point…Jesus, died on the Cross, doesn’t mean everyone is saved or receives,

    but, He still died for us, for the world,

    same with us, doesn’t matter, if we can end poverty or not, what Does matter, is that we lay down our lives.

    We can’t even, take care of the poor homeless women with children in THIS country, but oh we are so good and noble in demanding no abortion and no birth control and controlling sexuality,

    but I’ve yet, to see a band of Christian men in this nation, march for Child Support.

    NO, America, our day is coming…if you don’t think so,

    pick up the Bible, and read Amos,

    because, That is us.

    And to the world, so sorry, we don’t, do more….that we don’t, and haven’t, been willing to die, to end, the corruption, the imperialism, but instead, we played ‘church’, while we feasted on the food and clothes and wealth

    that cost millions, with their blood.

    God forgive us….

    JaneDoe
    Leftist Christian–even Marxist, and will Never, stop fighting, to end capitalism and injustice and poverty, even if,

    it is human nature.

  83. Mike Stephens
    Jun 5, 2009
    at 6:14 am

    @Tim Glenn@jane – Jane,

    You made a lot of points that were right on! I think a lot of your reasons and truths you mentioned is why the bible tells us to in Galations 6:9-10 to never give up in doing good.

    Galations 6:9-10 “And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.

    So then, as occasion and opportunity open up to us, let us do good [[i]morally] to all people [not only [j]being useful or profitable to them, but also doing what is for their spiritual good and advantage]. Be mindful to be a blessing, especially to those of the household of faith [those who belong to God's family with you, the believers].”

    Tim what do you think about this thought…Jesus died for all, so all you sincerely believe have an eternal inheritance. So many “poor” have more wealth than all the “wealthy” in this world combined. I agree with your statement “we can’t end poverty” b/c it is like saying “we can’t end lying”

    But what do you think about this Tim…”I can end poverty” What I mean by that is I can save this star fish and that star fish and that star fish over there. I am trying to make the anology that I do not have the omnipresent capacity to end our worldly definition of poverty for all the people living it but, just like Galations 6:9-10 says I can do good as much as I can!

    Tim I like this analogy or these analogies rather.

    Police officers will never be able to stop speeders, one b/c I like to drive fast and am amazing at spotting speeding traps and slowing down in time for them, but speeding is not bad but speeding is often the result of anger, being drunk, or just plane unsafe driving. So by having the law of a speed limit we can try to make the roads safer.

    In terms of poverty or not having enough to eat or not even having basic medical needs that would save millions of lives. We cannot ever achieve it b/c just like speeding there will always be people who speed like me. I don’t think living in poverty is the problem I think the problem is the people that have enough like me are not giving enough and willing to help enough to end it. Now that I am starting to think, I believe we can and maybe actually end poverty as I am understanding it as a standard of living. B/c when we are talking about poverty from a defn as not having clean water and living on a certain amount of income I believe one day we can move above the bar that the world has set as living in poverty. Just like Compassion reached its one millionth child I think poverty can be eradicated b/c once everyone is above our set standard/bar of poverty then we have ended it. But Compassion isn’t in the work of ending poverty from what I understand, Compassion is in the business of creating Spiritual Trillionares or more correctly Infinitillionares. So I believe we can and will end poverty but that is irrelevant b/c I do not think that is Compassion’s goal. Compassion’s goal is to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name. If we released all CHILDREN from poverty in Jesus’ name that would not end poverty it might, but I believe many adults would still be living in poverty. Also if poverty was ended we could not release them from poverty in Jesus’ name, just like if we ended speeding we would need not police officers to ticket speeders like me. I think we can still end our definition of poverty as an income amount but still have poor as the bible talks about.

    So Tim when you say “We can’t end poverty.” I would have to know what you mean? If you mean everyone is above a certain income amount so they can buy this and that I think we could reach that. But I am thankful Jesus made an internal investment in all of us so I don’t have to!!!!!!! And I look forward to sharing with you some pictures from the Philippines when I return June 18.

  84. Mike Stephens
    Jun 5, 2009
    at 6:28 am

    @Tim Glenn
    James 4:17 “So any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin.”

    “While crime is a sin…poverty is not.”

    Tim wouldn’t poverty be sinful b/c we are choosing to let things be wrong??? We are not acting like the Good Samaritan but like the other guys who passed by. For example we have the resources to end poverty but because we choose not to use them to help those who need them we are being sinful. If the man on the road represents poverty and the people who pass by are we who are not ending poverty like we could and should then that would be the sinful part…not doing what we know is right and Godly: helping those who need help. Releasing the captives and binding up the broken-hearted. Great post! I think it is a question we can get the best answer in heaven when we ask God…if we remember!

  85. Jun 8, 2009
    at 3:32 pm

    So, this post is almost a year old now! Some big things have changed in my mind very recently, so I thought I’d chime in again.

    80 comments, and very little on the question that I think should arise in one’s mind immediately on reading the phrase “Why We Can’t End Poverty”, which is: “What is poverty?”

    Also, very little on politics. There’s a LOT of stuff about politics in the Hebrew scriptures. Anyone ever read 1 Samuel 8, very carefully?

    Shockingly, not a whole lot of discussion here about the connection between poverty and slavery. I think the whole bible is about God progressively eradicating slavery from humanity, and teaching people about freedom.

    Who is poor? The one who owns very little. Who is a slave? The one who owns nothing at all, not even himself. But even if someone “legally” owns you (like the U.S. government “legally” owns about 25% of my personal economic output), ownership is in the mind.

    Romans 13 tells us that God instituted “authorities”, who were put there *in order to restrain evil*. He did not put “authorities” there in order to fill up every individual’s field of vision, so that nothing can be done without their say-so. The time has passed when the only way that order can be kept, is through a taxing state.

    Re-read “render unto Caesar”, and tell me if you really believe that Jesus’ cryptic response represents an endorsement of governments.

    Anyway, government is the very LAST place we should be looking, for an “end” to “poverty”.

  86. Jun 8, 2009
    at 7:06 pm

    @Joel Laramee

    Hi, Joel,

    A couple of points that I wanted to throw out.

    1. I agree with you wholeheartedly that the Bible has a lot to say about many topics, including politics, economics, sociology, psychology and even topics like Physics. (stating that the earth is a sphere, before it was known in Isa. 40:22).

    I have a little bit of a difficulty with your statement that “the whole bible is about God progressively eradicating slavery from humanity, and teaching people about freedom”. That’s not the main message of the Bible. I will admit that it talks about that, but it certainly isn’t the main message. The Bible is instruction how people can live a life glorifying God. As a matter of fact, there is quite a bit of instruction, how people can live a life glorifying God in the midst of slavery. Also, that instruction is both to the slave owner and the slave. The instruction isn’t to set the slave free. That’s more of a modern westernized message. (BTW, I’m not saying that I’m for slavery)

    Yes, Romans 13 states clearly that the purpose of government is the bearing of the sword. You might also want to read the books of Leviticus through Deuteronomy. Although these laws are given to Israel, it is the only example of a National law that God gave to a country and what types of laws, He instituted. It is very interesting to look through which realms that the government gets involved in here and where not and what are the consequences for not following these laws, etc…

    Again, I’m not stating the church should live under Old Testament law, because the church is not a nation like Israel was. I would not suggest the church to start carrying out capital punishment for instance, like Israel was instructed to do. I know this is whole other can of worms I’m opening here.

    Kees

  87. Jun 9, 2009
    at 4:49 am

    Uh oh! I’m sorry I brought up politics and “what the whole bible is about”! NOT! :-)

    Seriously- thanks for your comments Kees. But this post is about “why we can’t end poverty”, so maybe another place (“Your blog or mine?” :-) ) would be appropriate to discuss what God has said and is still saying, about the ruling of men over other men…

  88. Valerie Long
    Jun 9, 2009
    at 9:16 am

    I think politics DOES play a role in poverty – such as in aid that’s meant for the people never GETTING to the people. But, I think that it extends beyond that.

    I live in Michigan and I know that I’m VERY blessed to live in the USA. I’m blessed that I have a roof over my head and food to eat and access to education. But I think that some of it is the “out of sight, out of mind” concept. Many who live in the USA, including myself sometimes, get insulated away from the rest of the world. We get so wrapped up in our own issues, which may or may not be important in the grand scheme, that we forget just how blessed we are.

    I’m learning more and more as I grow older. When I was young, we were incredibly poor, by American standards. My dad had his own business but lost it during the early 80′s recession and since he was the owner, he didn’t qualify for unemployment benefits. While my parents tried to shield me from the realities of our life, I was smart enough to make connections such as “If we don’t have money for this $1 book I want, how can we have money for food/clothes/etc.” My parents told us that people in our church gave us money and we (my brother and I) know that the first Christmas after my Dad lost his business, we wouldn’t have HAD Christmas if not for family and friends.

    But even amidst all that, looking back now, we were still better off than so many people in this world. My parents, through the support of family, friends and our church were able to hold onto our house so I never even knew just how close we came to losing it until about the last 5 years. So I never had to deal with sleeping in the shacks that the children Compassion works with have to sleep in. There was always food to eat – though sometimes it wasn’t much, it was more than what many Compassion children live on each day.

    All this to say that even with my upbringing, sometimes I know I lose sight of just how blessed we are in this country. And I think that DOES play a part in poverty throughout the world. If it’s not in your face day after day, it’s easy to get ensconced in our comfortable lives and just think that everyone has the same life we do.

    Part of what I love about this blog is that with it, the poverty and neglect in the world ARE in your face and my face everyday and it helps remind me of just how blessed I am and renews my commitment to do all I can for my sponsored kids.

    So I think the “out of sight, out of mind” definitely plays a big role in it too.

  89. Mike Stephens
    Jul 14, 2009
    at 10:30 pm

    “The poor you will always have with you…” –Mark 14:7 (NIV)

    I believe we can end poverty b/c it is defined by a certain standard of living, however with poverty eradicated there will still be poor people just not under the poverty line. I think ending poverty would be like trying to end AIDS even if it was done there are tons of diseases I have never heard of that people are working tirelessly to end. I am not suggesting that it is not worthwhile or hopeless but somewhat insourmountable when looked at as a whole. But just like taking one child and releasing them from poverty makes a world of difference to that one person and that one family and that one community and that one country and inevitably that one world so does helping one person with AIDS or any other disease. So by ending poverty for 1 person we have ended poverty for the world. I will never get tired of hearing the starfish story b/c it is so profound especially when you are the starfish or have been the starfish in a certain situation!!!!!!! I believe when one sponsor helps end poverty for one child that poverty has been eradicated/ended b/c to that one person poverty no longer exists to them. So a world of poverty has been eradicated from them. It exists for others but not them. I don’t think the issue is poverty. The Bible says life is a mist and our inheritance for eternity is in heaven. So do I want a trillion dollars right now for maybe 77 years of my short life on earth or 1 penny doubled everyday for eternity in heaven? It is easy for me to say this b/c I have way more than I need!!!!!!!

  90. Jul 15, 2009
    at 11:52 am

    I like how Compassion defined poverty with the wheel with the spokes or characteristics. I sometimes think of them as ingredients in an applepie, if one of them is missing, the whole pie tastes bad. One of the main ingredients, probably in the above simile the “apples” is the spiritual aspect of a person. If that is missing, they are very poor, regardless of how much money they have. If you have Christ in your life, you’re very rich, regardless of how little money you have.

    So, in that sense, we won’t ever end poverty. There is so much poverty even here in the Western countries. And if you really look at it, the very financially successful people and rich people are many times even the poorest of the poor, because they don’t realize how needy they are. (I’m generalizing very much here. I don’t believe that every financial rich person is lost)

    Kees

  91. John Edwards
    Aug 26, 2009
    at 11:55 am

    A thought to consider in the debate of poverty is my summation that Jesus was declaring that we will have the poor with us always is because in order to be poor one must doubt.

    If I as a Christian doubt what God says He will do for me, am I to expect anything from Him in return? The word says no. So will I be poor? Yes.

    Some register “being poor” as being humble, humility though can show it’s head the best in the head and heart of the rich man then in the head and heart of a poor man or woman; wouldn’t you agree?

    Something to think about.

  92. Abby C
    Oct 3, 2009
    at 1:03 pm

    I very much agree. Won’t be throwing any stones.

    We can only reduce poverty. The rich and the poor HAVE to exist–just like night and day. They should exist to complement each other, and thus, create balance in the society.

  93. Nathan BIxler
    Nov 1, 2009
    at 5:36 pm

    Look at the church in Acts, where nobody goes without need. Then tell me we aren’t supposed to do something about poverty. If every Christian took care of the poor, poverty wouldn’t exist. Enough said. So yes, maybe we aren’t called to end poverty, but the end result of taking care of the poor and fighting injustice is a world without poverty.

  94. Nov 4, 2009
    at 8:28 am

    I read your words and i think that the quotes you highlighted are open to interpretation. I think the word poor can be many things. Poor can be seen as someone who isnt religious or spiritual. But when it comes to poverty that issue can be solved. The quote i think doesnt relate to the physical environment and the people who inhabit it. Since these words come from a religious take on the subject it would be fair to take it in the religious sense. But in the physical reality that we are in the matter of poverty can be fixed.

  95. Aaron Kody
    Feb 24, 2010
    at 7:59 am

    I totally disagree with this. In fact, extreme poverty could be eradicated easily in under five years if governments just funded plans and efforts against poverty. It’s actually damn simple, but the US goverenment won’t even give the tiny fraction of it’s wealth that’s needed to end poverty forever. As far as you saying we can’t end it, but we should still ” let no child starve to death”. Are you aware that over 18,000 children starve to death everyday!!?! (UNICEF statistics). Get your head back on your shoulders and stop coming up with stupid ideas. Take action and easily end poverty now.

  96. [...] out this post from Compassion’s [...]

  97. Jun 10, 2013
    at 5:14 pm

    I believe change in development is a process and it also has steps. Poverty can not be eliminated in a snap of fingers but it is a process. The question is what tools are we using to reach our target of seeing a world of no starving children.

    I personally have suffered poverty as a child born and raised in one of the slums of Kampala, i am not an orphan (Thank God), both my parents are healthy and i can’t tell what led to that kind of poverty. My parents have loved working and work most of the time (just like most of the poor) but development is in vain.

    What are the long term change tools can we use to eradicate poverty?

    In my opinion;
    1. Education 2. Work hand in hand with poor countries’ government development programs 3. Lend your ears to the poor because they know what can help their problems but how to reach it. 4.Make sure your donation is not creating damage(some of you may wonder how?!,) choose programs that are of benefit to the marginalised communities by letting them participate in the decisions you make on their behalf.

    I believe that if we especially invest in education, there is bound to be change. how?
    - Agriculture will get better with the new knowledge and technologies hence eradication of hunger
    -If one can stay some more years in school, then more possibilities of giving birth at a later age hence low fertility rate.
    - Employment gets better
    - If one can read and write, they are informed and therefore can know and fight for their rights.
    -The list is endless..

    I am one of the lucky girls that had parents that invested all they had in my education until they couldn’t handle it. Still luckily, i got sponsorships/scholarships from people that want to see this world a better place for us all. I am now on a masters’ course(http://glocal.huji.ac.il/application.htm). Hoping to help my community even better after my course.

    By the way, my family’s upgrade is also starting with my education. I am the one who is more informed for decisions, also who can contribute a bigger portion to the family’s sustainability coz education lead to better and formal jobs.

    My surname, what i used here means “For God” i belong to God.] :-)
    God bless you all.
    Thank you!

  98. bob smith
    Aug 7, 2013
    at 9:37 am

    corruption, greed, ignorance and the birth rate. the US has sent tons of aid to impoverished countries, only to be taken by whatever dictator for it’s military, and the people continue to starve to death. also, if you set the entire planet up so the current population had just enough to be OK, within a short time, it would over-breed to a new state of abject poverty. I know a girl in Milwaukee who comes from the welfare state. She dropped out of high-school, and like that culture, is still in her early 20′s and birthing her 7th child, mostly of different fathers.

  99. Keri
    Aug 8, 2013
    at 3:52 pm

    I think it’s important to realize that there are two main types of poverty: absolute poverty, and relative poverty. I am certain that it was relative poverty that Jesus was talking about when he said that the poor would always be among us, because it would be impossible to make sure that there were NO imbalances in material possessions distribution. I imagine that even in a practically perfect world, there would still be nominal poverty – one child might just happen to get 2.2 ounces of ice cream in their cone, where another receives 2.6 ounces. That might seem a silly example, but I don’t think it’s any less silly than many other determinations of wealth/poverty that are often used in the developed world. One home has 3 televisions, 4 cell phones, and a car. Another has no television, no cell phone, and bus passes. The latter would be considered poorer, and there’s very little that can be done about this type of poverty – if fixing this “problem” were even decided to be important. What CAN be fixed, though, is ABSOLUTE poverty – the desperation of not having adequate food, water, clothing, shelter to even survive for long. THAT is fixable, and can be now finally be addressed – perhaps within one generation. We can’t guarantee everyone on the planet a super-comfortable upper-middle class Western lifestyle, but we CAN make sure that no one else dies for lack for water and nutrition. Not everyone will get to live in their very own McMansion, but we CAN make sure that everyone who wants one has a roof of SOME sort. Not everyone will have their Ph.D paid for, but we CAN make sure that every child gets the chance to at least learn to read and write at a very basic level. Relative poverty will surely remain, and there will always be those who have less and thus feel needy, but ABSOLUTE poverty can and should be ended soon.

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