How Can I Fight Poverty?

How can I help fight poverty? What in the world can I do? The problems are just so big, and I’m just so small. I want to be used by you, God, but I just don’t know what to do.

I’ve thought and prayed these things many times. When viewing this world with its huge statistics of dread that loom over us (one BILLION people living in poverty), have you ever just felt stuck? Paralyzed? Anaesthetized? Confused? Helpless? Hopeless?

I’ve felt all those things. Usually when I’m looking at two things:

  • The enormous earth, jam-packed with dreadful statistics, and
  • Me

They both seem like depressing prospects.

Thank God this is not about me or you. Thank God for His grace. When the Lord called out looking for someone to be his messenger, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6:8, NIV), He didn’t say “Whom shall I send who has a doctorate degree? Who will go for us who’s a super-swell, smart, sophisticated, experienced guy?”

No, God doesn’t put the same prerequisites on his servants that we put on ourselves. He seems quite eager to use each one of us as his servants, just the way he made us.

fight-poverty-hope-livesI recently wrote a book about responding to poverty, Hope Lives, and between you and me, this is a bit crazy. Don’t tell anyone (especially my marketers), but I’m just a goofball from Colorado who loves donuts and reality television. But I’m a goofball who (quite audaciously) called out to God, “Here am I, send me!”

And you know what? God (quite audaciously, in my opinion), said “OK.” I’m tempted to think He might need a stricter HR department, but those are just the lies of the enemy. God wants to use each one of us (I mean you) to reach out and help His hurting world, no matter how insufficient we think we are.

We might not all be missionaries or nurses or have doctorate degrees in poverty, but God did plant a little seed, a little talent, in each of us that He wants to use and grow. There’s a guy who works here at Compassion whom God gave the talent of rapping. Yes, rapping. And he’s using it to speak out against poverty. There’s a woman who loves to write letters, and she’s using this gift to write letters of encouragement and hope to dozens of children in poverty.

Maybe you can’t write or rap, but what can you do to serve others? Bake? Fix cars? Persuade? Sew? Tap Dance?

No matter how small (or random) our talent seems, God can use it. He can multiply our offering that seems so measly and make it into something incredible, just like the little boy with the two bitty fish that God used to feed 5,000 (John 6). God gave me the gift of writing.

The small step of faith I took in this has now been multiplied by God, through Hope Lives church kits which guide churches through a five-week journey of exploring how God wants us to respond to poverty. Now how crazy is that?

I believe God is waiting for each one of us to look past the looming, seemingly impossible statistics, forget ourselves and our own insufficiencies, and simply say: “Here I am God, send me.” And I bet we’ll be flat-out flabbergasted by what he does.

8 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Chet Baumgartner August 15, 2008

    Hello. I’m not actually looking to be published on your blog, but I am hoping to get some more information about some of the specific anecdotes in “Hope Lives.” The book is incredibly moving and effective, and I would like to glean some of the stories for my own organization, which is attempting to create its own program to motivate Christians to give more.
    I’m wondering how I might contact you with some questions to get some more specific details about some of the anecdotes you share. We would, of course, give you credit and seek your permission for any stories we would relate. If you prefer, I can send you the questions via the blog, or I can e-mail you if you would prefer that medium.

  2. Rebecca June 10, 2008

    After reading this post, I immediately ordered the book. I received it yesterday and DEVOURED the first chapter. I fought with myself not to read on, but to think and pray about the first chapter.

    This book is a gift to me and to the world. My heart is burning trying to find ways to serve. I am called to action!

    Beautiful book!

  3. Amber Van Schooneveld June 5, 2008

    Thank you, Mary! 🙂

  4. Mary June 4, 2008

    Hi Amber,
    I have read your book and just loved it. I wish it was available when I took my first missions trip in 2007. I am reading it again and words can’t even begin to express how much it has helped me to learn and grow. Keep up the good work!!

  5. Kelly @ Love Well June 4, 2008

    God’s amazing that way.

  6. Vicki Small June 4, 2008

    Whenever I stop to think about how illogical it seems to me, that God would have called me into this ministry, I remember a sermon title from way back in my own childhood. It came out of the story of God’s call to Moses, out in the desert. The title was “Any old bush will do.”

  7. Beth Ingersoll June 4, 2008

    Oh, how I love and agree with this post! We can all be used if we’re willing!!! (And sometimes God will use us whether we’re willing or not!)

  8. Compassion dave June 4, 2008

    I am not what one would call an avid book-reader, unless ‘that book’ is the Bible. In fact, as it pertains to a Christian’s faith-walk, there have only been two books I have ever recommended:

    1) Revolution in World Missions

    2) The Road to Reality

    Both written by Gospel for Asia’s, K P Yohannan. I only mention that because I now add your blessed book, “Hope Lives” to my “Need-To-Recommend” list–it is that good!

    I so admire and appreciate your book, and believe God’s own hand is visble within it’s pages, that I desire to put copies into the hands of the first 100 people who sponsor a Compassion Child.

    So to the first 100 people who sponsor a COMPASSION child, drop me a note ([email protected]) with your ‘new’ child information and I will send you “Hope Lives” for free.

    Sponsor a child = “Hope Lives”

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