I have on occasion heard this verse mentioned as a reality I should consider before I get too gung-ho about attempting to solve the world's poverty crisis. And, you know what, I believe this verse to be true to an extent, but I do not believe it to be an excuse to turn a blind eye. In fact, a quick glance at the words on either side of this sentence talk about the importance of giving generously (kind of funny how we purport verses to fit our leanings at times...I'm sure I'm guilty of it). I also cannot reconcile the reality that Jesus talks consistently about the poor among us.
Yet, I am still left with an overwhelming feeling. Where do I even begin?
There are three main roots of poverty:
- Consequences of Sin
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
- Act Justly
- Love Mercy
- Walk Humbly
What can be given to a person who has experienced oppression and injustice whether intentionally or not? They need justice. They need someone who will speak on their behalf when they are unable to speak. They need someone to stand up and go against the systems or structures which perpetuate these injustices. They ultimately need the giver of justice (Psalm 9:16). Does God not pour out justice through his people? We can give justice.
What does someone entrenched in the consequences of their sin need? They need humility. And they need to see humility modeled. They need humble servants of Christ to walk beside them, to bend down and sincerely walk with them. They need modeled a humble walk with Christ. It is only through Christ that true redemption can take place (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14). With Christ, we can model humility.
Too simplistic? Maybe. Is their truth here? I think so. How can we better respond to the realities around us?
I'd love to hear your thoughts, critiques, questions, and clarifications of this model.