Summary of Poverty
Brent begins by referencing the popular Taboo series and how money is taboo within the church. “Don’t talk about giving money from the front!” It makes people uncomfortable. Brent then connects this to poverty. Poverty makes people uncomfortable. Today’s topic will be on poverty.
Christians and poverty and mercy
Micah 6:8 – God instructed his people to act justly and love mercy. This message will focus on mercy.
To love mercy is to back it up with actions
Matthew 25:35-36 – Jesus describes what actions of mercy look like. Mercy implies action! Yet our culture, our rich and wealthy North American culture, acts as if nothing is wrong. Yet God is telling us that we must take action (Micah 6, Matthew 25).
Giving to the poor
Here are some popular excuses for not giving to the poor: “If I give to the poor how do I know the poor will use it wisely?” Or, “The poor have a sense of entitlement!” Or, “I gave to a person in need and they came back for more!” And so we become disheartened and stop helping those who are in poverty.
How should we mentally approach the concept of poverty?
When God created us he also created us with a need for four types of relationships
- A relationship with God (to serve him and worship him)
- A relationship with ourself (we have worth and dignity)
- A relationship with others (community and friends)
- A relationship with God’s creation (mandate to “work the land”)
And because of “The Fall of Man,” each one of those relationships has become broken or disrupted.
- We reject God. (Instead of wanting a relationship with him)
- We become our own God (and not understanding our own true role as servant)
- We view others as less important and bad — racism, prejudice (instead of becoming friends and embracing others)
- Self-centered behaviour where we stop caring for our world (instead of caring for society and the world)
We are in North America because God blessed us, that’s it!
People in less developed world’s aren’t lazy! No! Instead they are caught in poverty. They are in a spider web of poor circumstances that they were born into! Think of a fly in a spider’s web: the more it struggles the more entangled it becomes. Often those in a situation of poverty, it isn’t their lack of desire or passion that keeps them stuck, it is just safer for them to not act.
How can SouthRidge act mercifully towards poverty
- We need to have a global perspective on poverty. We must look beyond ourselves. This is a great first step: think about supporting Starfish Ministries.
- We must have a personal response to our LOCAL poverty situation. You can get involved in our breakfast program. It’s so easy to serve kids on a school day morning! Come on, it’s fun.
- We must “do with” our community. We have to stop thinking that we are doing it for another person. Instead we must change our thinking. We must do it with them. We must come alongside them and begin to understand their situation. We need to flex our hospitality muscles and our generosity muscles. And great news: you don’t need a big house or a big bank account to be hospitable and generous.
About this Message Series
Jesus said that he came to preach good news to the poor and proclaim freedom for the oppressed. The early church was known for not only proclaiming the Gospel message but also demonstrating the message through actions. This message series will reminded us that whatever is close to God’s heart needs to be close to our heart as well.