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Why We Are At Risk Of Ignoring The Real Source Of Poverty

Poverty Gospel Poor

excerpt from David French:

For many, many years I spent time “in the trenches” reaching out to at-risk youth. At first I was the stereotypical naive idealist. ”All they need is love and a chance,” I thought. Working in mentoring programs, I spent untold hours playing catch, going to little league games, going to parks, and just hanging out with at-risk kids as part of a variety of programs. Seeing ragged clothes, I’d buy new clothes. Hearing that a mother couldn’t pay the light bill, I’d kick in and help. I spent night after night sleeping in homeless shelters, cooking dinners in the evening, pancake breakfasts in the morning, and fixing snack lunches for hard days on the streets.

I can’t remember when I first realized that I was accomplishing nothing of substance. A few car break-ins taught me that some guys saw me as an easy mark. A few pot purchases with the “gas bill money” taught me that others saw me as an ATM. Admonitions to “stay in school” had little appeal compared to drug-fueled orgies for kids as young as fifteen years old. I tried. God knows I tried. But it was all for naught.

Only one thing really worked. The Cross. There are kids today that Nancy and I worked with who are doing well, who are happily married, and who are pillars of their community. What made the difference for them? The Cross. It wasn’t about my words. It wasn’t about my effort. (After all, I tried just as hard or harder with other kids — who are now in prison or “baby-daddies” or both.) The kids who made it heard the Gospel, repented of sin, and were transformed through the renewing work of the Holy Spirit.

It’s trendy now for churches to put less emphasis on the Gospel and more emphasis on service. I’ve even heard Christians almost brag that their outreach efforts don’t include any proselytizing at all. This is tragic. Billions of dollars of “service” won’t change hearts and lives. We know that now. In fact, those very billions may very well numb the human heart to the gravity of its sin.

So, yes, let’s do “more,” but let’s make sure that “more” is aimed at the real source of American poverty — our depravity. (Tweet This)

You can read the whole post here.

I couldn't agree more with David's comments.

I travel around the world with my nonprofit organization. During my travels I go to many developing-world countries in which I encounter a lot of poverty...material poverty. Yet if I just think of poverty merely as a material issue, then I miss the point of true poverty. Poverty is more than not having material possessions (food, shelter, clothes etc..) - it is a relational poverty. Our relationship with others, our world, ourself, and God are fractured and broken. So no matter if I have stuff or don't have stuff, we all are in a condition of poverty.

This is an important understanding to have. Because when I realize that I am poor then the way I approach and relate to others is impacted. We begin to understand that there is a shared humanity and condition of poverty that we experience and share with others - no matter their socio-economic condition, their culture, their language or background. I am a beggar showing another beggar where to find bread - and that bread is the Bread of LIFE!

Therefore when my organization (a Christian medical organization called CMDAtravels the world to help others who are in medical need, we don't just treat people's physical and felt needs - although that is very important and crucial. But, in addition, we also address that person's real need - reconciliation to their creator through the love and sacrifice of Jesus.

For our doctors, and medical professionals, this reflects the philosophy of whole person care. Treating, caring and addressing the needs of the whole person - physical, emotional and spiritual.

We reflect and follow the model of Jesus and his ministry, "...and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal." Luke 9:2 (Tweet This)


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