Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Whose Responsibility Are The Poor - Part 2

On Sunday I closed out my post by asking you to consider some of the prevalent attitudes towards helping the poor.

·         “If they want food then they should get a job like the rest of us.”

·         “I work hard for my money.  Why should I give it to a bum on the street who can’t be bothered doing an honest day’s work?”

·         “Life’s short and it sucks.  The world owes me.  I deserve that new BMW.”

·         “We’ve got our own troubles.  People starving in Africa really aren’t my problem”

Where did we go wrong?  When did we start caring more about accumulating personal wealth and less about taking care of the poor and marginalized in our communities and around the world?  When did the instant gratification of getting it on credit replace our desires to make a difference in the world?

For most of us our pay cheque is already spent long before it hits our bank account.  Can you relate to paying 19% or 28% interest on your credit card for stuff you “just had to have” five years ago (with good intentions of paying it off before the interest free period ran out)?  You’re not alone, in fact these days you’re pretty much considered a “normal” consumer. 

I challenge you today to closely evaluate the state of your budget.  I’d like to offer a different way of living...perhaps even issue a challenge towards it.

What if, instead of spending frivolously on toys, expensive cars, and designer clothes we slashed our spending, worked at eliminating personal debt, and opened our eyes to the world around us?

What if we started caring about people starving in Africa, or orphans living on the street in India, or Mexicans making their homes in a garbage dump, or the homeless family in our own inner city?  If you knew your donation meant someone could eat more than one meal a day do think you’d really care that you drive a five-year-old Ford instead of a new Mercedes? 

Do you think you’d miss carrying the $800.00 Louis Vuitton hand bag when your $40.00 off-the-rack purse means you’re investing in a child by providing money so she can go to school and learn to be a future leader for change in her country? 

What about giving up one of your daily lattes and putting the money towards financing a start up business through micro-finance at (it only takes $25.00 to make your first loan – just six lattes).

Isn’t it time we stopped wrapping our self-worth up in possessions and instead start investing in food, education, justice, and equality for the poor?  You can start out small, right in your own back yard.

1.       Try donating to your local food bank, or giving some of your time to pack food hampers.

2.       Volunteer at the homeless shelter, or give to your church’s outreach or benevolent fund.

3.       Pledge to sponsor a child through World Vision, Compassion, Christian Children’s Fund, or Samaritan’s Purse.  Your sponsorship will completely change their lives.

The opportunities are endless, but it’s up to us to wake up, shed our cloaks of complacency, and start sharing the wealth we’ve been given. 

This change in attitude might mean re-arranging your budget.  Personally, for my husband and me, it means addressing personal debt so we’re free to give more generously.  We’re working on this, but still find great reward in donating small amounts where we can.

Whatever the sacrifice, it’s worth it.  God promises blessing to those who give generously.

“Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.  There will always be some in the land who are poor.  That is why I am commanding you to share freely with the poor and with other Israelites (people) in need.”  Deuteronomy 15:10-11

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