Monday, October 19, 2009

God's View of Poverty

Posted by Terry McNichols

I recently had a conversation with a good friend who was visiting a Central American country.  I was upset by her perception of the negative influence that Christianity has had on that region of the world.   Several points in our discussion bear repeating here. 

1.  Not everything done in the name of Christ is or has been done for the good of the receiver.  Often it is for the profit of the person who is more powerful.
2.  It is impossible to lump all Christians into one pot!  I don't want to be blamed for the abuses done in the name of Christ in the same way I don't want my identification as an American to make me accountable for the many abuses promulgated by our government.
3.  Christians do "good" in the world because they are commanded to do so, and because they care deeply about the poor and the downtrodden.  Most of us are trying to make a difference in the world. Abuses have occurred, but well-meaning Christians have done much for the poor and downtrodden of the world, for the sake of Christ!
4.  The modern "health and wealth" gospel doesn't speak to the needs of the poor.  We mustn't believe that God cares only to bless America!   We have a duty to the rest of the world's poor.
5.  Christians believe that salvation isn't about doing good works, but about believing in Jesus as God's son and savior of the world.  But Christians believe in faith PLUS works.  Faith comes first and works flow naturally out of that faith.
6.  God had a whole lot to say about poverty in the Scriptures.  This is a subject on which He was anything but silent.   If you doubt this, please check out the this link which lists over 300 verses that show God's compassion for the poor and the commands we are given with regard to the poor.

This is all front and center in my thinking as my husband and I prepare to lead another Agros trip to our village in El Salvador.  And Leona has just returned from Moldova, the poorest country in Europe, and will be writing more about that experience in future posts.  Pray for and with us as we struggle with what these issues mean in our own lives. 

(Photo by venetia joubert sarah, shared via Flickr)


Karla said...


Peggy Forster said...

You will be in my prayers. Have a blessed trip.