What Is the Opposite of Poverty?

Our ministry often refers to the “opposite of poverty.” And you might think that we are referring to wealth. The opposite of poor is obviously rich, right?

Actually, in order to answer the question, we first must be able to understand what poverty really is.

There is spiritual poverty … having no access to the gospel or never hearing about our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Sadly, millions of people around the world do not know that Jesus loves them. So the opposite of spiritual poverty is obviously having access to the gospel. It means knowing who Jesus is and how much He wants a relationship with everyone.

opposite of poverty

There is educational poverty. For hundreds of millions around the world, education is a luxury they cannot afford.

Think about that statement, “education is a luxury.” And imagine what that means for those who are trying to keep up in a changing world.

Lack of education creates a lack of options, difficulty in finding employment. So the opposite of educational poverty is the opportunity for advancement, new learning and practical training.

There is social poverty. In many parts of the world, there are people groups who are simply “undervalued.” Women have few or no rights, children have no voice, no platform … few or no rights.

So the opposite of social poverty is obviously a world where everyone is valued. Where there is community, or at least opportunity for community, and where governments recognize the value of every citizen.

There is health poverty. It may sound foreign to most of you reading this blog, but there are many, many people around the world who don’t even know the importance of brushing their teeth, or making sure the water they drink is clean.

There are men, women and children throughout our planet who believe that debilitating, crippling pain is just part of life — not knowing that it could be cured or treated, if only given the opportunity.

We’ve hear stories of village mothers who deprive their children of water when the children have diarrhea … believing that diarrhea means the child has has too much water. Not understanding that the very thing a child with diarrhea needs is more fluids.

opposite of poverty

We teach kids how to care for their bodies. Health poverty also includes those millions of people around the world who have no access to health care. So the opposite of health poverty may be the opportunity to get basic medical/health needs taken care of. It means the ability to learn how to take care of your own body.

There is environmental poverty. I have walked in parts of the world where families live in parched land, with dirt floors, where sewage trenches trickle outside their front doors.

Not every person in the world needs a mansion or even a 2,000 square foot, carpeted home. But every person should have safe shelter. Every person should have access to clean air and clean water. That’s the opposite of environmental poverty.

And, of course, there’s economic poverty. Can you believe there are millions of people around the world who do backbreaking work for 8 to 12 hours per day, for less than $2 pay?

Seriously? How can you feed a family on that kind of money? You can’t.

But the opposite of economic poverty isn’t for each of these people to suddenly become wealthy. The opposite of economic poverty is to have enough. Enough income to feed your family. Enough income to provide shelter for your family. That’s hardly too much to ask.

opposite of poverty

So, as you partner with us or your church or another ministry organization to fight poverty, it’s good to have a better understanding of what that really means.

We’re not called to make the poor become rich, uber-athletes, Ph.Ds or super-theologians. We’re not called to give them the opportunities to live in paradisaical environments. We’re called to make sure they have enough in each of these categories. So the opposite of poverty isn’t wealth. It’s simply … enough.

LINK UP: Today is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (a.k.a. World Poverty Day). Don’t be silent. Take some time to make some noise. Write a post about extreme poverty and then share it with us by linking up below.

6 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Avatar
    Cynthia Dufresne October 18, 2011

    the opposite of poverty is enough

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      RICHARD EVANS June 24, 2018

      define enough.

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      Maria October 21, 2011

      Amen! Thought there is poverty here in the US, I cannot imagine the degree that our sponsor children experience on a day to day basis. Thank you Jesus for your provision so that we can in turn help your children…

  2. Avatar
    Yvonne October 17, 2011

    Thank you for sharing this post. My children and I are starting to research the countries that Compassion works in and one of the things I am amazed at is the literacy rate in these countries. There is usually a big discrepancy between men and women. So thankful that Compassion is working to help release children from poverty in Jesus’ name!

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    Allyson October 17, 2011

    One of the great things about compassion is that they do not just release children from one type of poverty. They release them from every type of poverty, and give them the resources to break the cycle of poverty in their family and community as well. God is working through this program!

  4. Avatar
    Jonathan Emata October 17, 2011

    FULFILLMENT… as the evidence of Genuine SUCCESS.

    As I always share, “I may not have the ‘Highest Paid Job in the World’, but as called by God from a FORMER COMPASSION SPONSORED CHILD turned youngest Compassion’s CDSP Project Director, whenever I witness my children gradually being RELEASED from POVERTY as they complete in the program makes me happy… MY FULFILLMENT! 😉

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