I’m Not Quite Rich Enough to Go to Disney World

im poor burkina faso

Our tendency, when we get a little more money, is to live up to our means. A slightly larger house or a slightly larger car, and we have the same stress each month when our bills arrive and the same feeling that we’re poor compared to so and so up the road.

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Who Needs Christ?

group of women sitting crossed legged on floor

The poor see Jesus every day because they have nowhere else to go. Living in a wealthy society makes it very difficult to truly see Him.

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colorful mugs sitting on table

Bring an Empty Cup

When I come with an empty cup, the poor teach me about the faith required to truly depend on God rather than for me to try to solve all their problems by reaching for my wallet. When I come with an empty cup, the poor teach me how to get the best use of the resources around me instead of wasting so much.

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graphic describing mixing mud in with food

Crackers or Mud?

Recently, I read about how the poor in Haiti have to mix mud in their food to make it go further. Mud. They mix it with flour to make a few more biscuits or simply fry it up with cooking oil or lard and salt to give it a bit of taste. Imagine a mother having to scoop up mud just to have something to feed her hungry children.

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graphic depicting salary comparison

Keeping Up With the Joneses

If you finished high school, you might as well be “Dr. Jones” to those who have no chance of getting an education. If you eat three full meals a day, Jones. Jones. Jones.

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man standing in Honduran classroom

Undercover With Compassion

I have been feeling challenged lately to get closer to the heart of Compassion, where we interact with sponsors, churches and children. I recently read a quote from a top executive of a large retail chain (I can’t remember which one — maybe Best Buy). He said, “I have never wasted a day visiting a store.” So, I arranged a trip to Honduras where I spent six days at two different child development centers in the central zone of the country … the Honduras Country Office did a marvelous job of setting this trip up so that I could be a regular guy without any fanfare or protocol.

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I Command You to be Openhanded Towards the Poor

Last month, Wess visited Australia and we grabbed him for a chat about why he is sold on child sponsorship as a way to help children, and what the Bible tells us 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)

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My Best Day in Ministry: Blessed are the Poor

Hope Lives author, Amber Van Schooneveld, talks about her best day of ministry with Compassion International.

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Never Ending Poverty: Why We Can’t 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.

When we come together to fight poverty, God’s glory shines. And isn’t that what we’re called to do after all? Be reflectors of His glory?

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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