Bailout Plan

It’s extraordinary to me that the United States can find $700 billion to save Wall Street and the entire G8 can’t find $25 billion dollars to save 25,000 children who die every day from preventable diseases.” –Bono.

I don’t mean to make light of the current economic crisis in the United States, but there’s a part of me that wonders if we don’t deserve this.

As a country, we have been getting fat and lazy while two thirds of the world struggles just to stay alive. Not all of us, mind you, but collectively — as a country — we’re complaining not because we can’t survive but because our luxuries cost us more than we want to spend.

We want cheap gas and “affordable” four-bedroom homes. We want 200 channels on television and to be able to go out to eat two or three times a week.

As Americans, many of us believe we deserve those things. There’s a sense of entitlement. Meanwhile, on the other side of this tiny little planet of ours, someone is praying, pleading to God for a slice of bread.

So our government is working on a bailout plan. How can we maintain the “American way of life” without suffering the consequences of our decisions? A loan. We’ll loan ourselves money and turn a blind eye to the root causes of greed and selfishness. 

We do that so well, don’t we? We attack problems by trying to change the circumstances, instead of battling the root causes. I know I’ve done it in my own life, so this is as much an indictment on me as it is on anyone else.

Then I start to think about the poor.

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What is the bailout plan for that family living on less than $2 a day in a developing country? The family who struggles not with wants for luxury but needs for survival. Who will bail them out?

The answer, oddly enough, is us. Yes, the same “us” that’s struggling in the midst of this economic downturn. When our economy is bad, it trickles down to the poorest of the poor.

Higher food costs and fuel prices mean their $2 a day doesn’t go nearly as far. We have to look beyond ourselves, now more than ever, to be the church God intended us to be.

The Church is God’s bailout plan for the poor.

I’m not saying we should throw money at poverty and turn a blind eye to its root causes. I understand why Bono is frustrated over the lack of funds, I really do. But money alone won’t stop poverty.

It goes deeper than that. Besides, I think the Church can do better than any government. We understand the spiritual implications that despair and hopelessness cause. And no one can meet those needs better than the Church. If we’ll just be the Church. 

This is a time to pray. Not just for the economic crisis in our country, but also for the ones hit hardest — the poor. And, there’s something else we can do: give more.

That’s right . . . more. I know it sounds odd, but what if, instead of hording our money during this time of economic struggle, we decided to be more giving? Wouldn’t that be something?

Imagine the headlines: GIVING TO THE POOR IS UP — EVEN AS STOCKS DECLINE. At the very least, we can’t afford to cut back on our giving. The poor simply cannot survive if we do.

I don’t know what giving more means to you. It could be sponsoring a child. It could be giving to a fund that feeds the hungry.

Maybe it means going on a mission trip and getting your hands dirty. But this is the time to do it. Now. Not tomorrow. Not to change circumstances . . . but to attack the roots.

19 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Avatar
    Will February 11, 2009

    You know…why does this person believe that any one in the current banking and any chief of an industry think that just because there is a web site to track what they will do will make any difference what they will do….cheat and steal every penny they can…would do anything different because there is a web site is beyond me. THE CEO’s and those in charge BELIEVE they are ENTITLED to the extra money.. They could care,ess about the reqiurements or the wants of the people. AND you as the governement do not care either. HOW Much money will you all make off this..>LOTS>>>that is for usre.

  2. Avatar
    Lisa October 18, 2008

    I am so glad you wrote this. It is exactly what I have been talking about. We have a team at our church that is trying to expose people to the issue of extreme poverty. A resource that we have used is the book “Hope Lives” which is available through this site.

    Grace and Peace

  3. Avatar
    Wendy in Iowa October 17, 2008

    I have a hard time dealing with the amount of money that has been given the last 2 years to any of the canidates. How many children would that have fed? Including children in the US? How many children could have recieved the medical care that they needed?

    I had watch a “biography” show on Raymond Burr, the quoate was by some one else and he tried to live his life by. I am trying to live my life this way…If I die a rich man, then I have not lived it the way in which God intended.

  4. Avatar
    Tim October 16, 2008

    Thanks everyone, for taking time to read the post…and to comment.
    The question is, how do we get the Church to start living it out? That’s a huge hurdle. Imagine how powerful our country would be if churches across the nation decided to make helping the poor a priority…and got busy!

  5. Avatar
    Russ October 16, 2008

    Thanks for calling us out on this topic. Imagine a church that loves the world as much as God does.

  6. Avatar
    Jill Foley October 16, 2008

    Amen…I agree with you! I constantly struggle with paring our lives down to the bare necessities…when in reality I know many of my “necessities” are “luxuries”.

    We are blessed with so much…homes, clothes, food… yet in our greed we think we need more and that is what prevents us from giving.

  7. Avatar
    Heather October 15, 2008

    Great post Tim! I gotta agree with you on this whole post.A quote from Bono also mentions that only 6% of evangelical Christians polled think that Africa/AIDS is OUR problem and that when he read that it brought him to his knees..literally. 6%?? What are the other 94% thinking??
    Living way past your means is definatly bad..I’ve actually had people tell me “I can’t help because I don’t have any money. I have a brand new house,loans on two newer cars and we HAVE to go out to eat and have great things..” *shaking head* May God have mercy on the poor while the vast majority of people do nothing!

  8. Avatar
    Beth Ingersoll October 15, 2008

    Wonderful post!

  9. Avatar
    Kees Boer October 15, 2008

    I know one formerly LDP student, who sponsored a little boy and recently decided to sponsor another child by giving up half of her meals.


  10. Avatar
    Kathy October 15, 2008

    Die to self to gain life, the last shall be first. Your blog is ringing true to the Word of God. Just one of those things that we humans consider “foolishness” and yet it is the Wisdom of God. Great food for thought! Great motivation to act upon!

  11. Avatar
    Amanda October 15, 2008

    It reminds me of Paul’s thanks to the Macedonian church in 2 Cor 8. They gave beyond their ability to give in order that Paul’s work might continue. They gave out of their poverty. I think we should also follow their example.

  12. Avatar
    Shelly Quigg October 15, 2008

    I am so glad to read this today. I really needed it! Yesterday I added a fifth child to sponsor and although I felt led to do it at the time, I began having doubts right away. I wondered where the money would come from. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to meet the additional financial burden on my already tight finances. I was thinking of my situation as “the world” sees it. I began to think of the negative comments that would surely come from my non-sponsor friends and family. To be honest, most think it is a silly thing to do… to spend what little money I have on children that I don’t even know when there are needs in my own home and community.
    Even though I am still worried about the financial aspects, I feel more at peace with my decision after reading this post. Thanks for giving me the affirmation and encouragement I need right now!

  13. Avatar
    Becky October 15, 2008

    Tim, GREAT post.

    I’ve heard the phrase “You can’t outgive God.” So in the weird, backwards way that God seems to so often work, perhaps the key to solving our financial “crisis” is to give more away.

  14. Avatar
    Brianne Mullins October 15, 2008

    This is so encouraging as well as challenging. I love what you said Tim, we are God’s bailout plan for the poor. What a great amount of trust He has put in us. Thanks for your thoughts!

  15. Avatar
    Felix Mackenzie October 15, 2008

    Well, bailout may work for this time, but there is threat that it will cause stronger crisis in the future, since such actions create moral hazard and banks become more willing to undertake high risks to get higher returns.

  16. Avatar
    Sarah October 15, 2008

    Amen! Thanks for bringing this up!

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