When we are not afraid to confess our own poverty, we will be able to be with other people in theirs. The Christ who lives in our own poverty recognizes the Christ who lives in other people's. Just as we are inclined to ignore our own poverty, we are inclined to ignore others'. We prefer not to see people who are destitute, we do not like to look at people who are deformed or disabled, we avoid talking about people's pains and sorrows, we stay away from brokenness, helplessness, and neediness.- Henri Nouwen
By this avoidance we might lose touch with the people through whom God is manifested to us. But when we have discovered God in our own poverty we will lose our fear of the poor and go to them to meet God.
I am joining other blogs and bloggers today to post on and bring awareness to the issue of poverty. One of the biggest challenges for churches this coming year is how to respond to the economic downturn and uncertainty with their resources.
Leadership Network's biannual survey on church salaries reveals that many larger churches are still considering major fund drives in the coming year. The survey covered 105 churches from 30 states that ranged from 1,400 attendants to 10,000, according to the study's authors, Warren Bird and Dave Travis....(ht: Christian Post, 10-1-08)
...Also 25 percent of all responding churches said they will do a fund drive for the poor or needy in their community, and 23 percent plan to plant multiple new congregations.
Even though it is encouraging that some churches are still committed to raise the necessary resources to help the poor amidst an economic downturn, unfortunately many other churches will cut funding and resources to help the poor and needy during this time.
And yet even with all the financial challenges we are Christ's church and we are called to reach out and help the least, the last and the lost. We are called to clothe and feed the poor. We are compelled to go and be among those most in need and embrace them with God's love.
It is the Gospel that will keep us engaged to help the poor even when our balance sheets say otherwise. It is the Gospel that reminds us, as Nouwen said, of our own poverty and need and how God's marvelous grace met us in that need.