Pattern of Poverty

With the massive amount of divisions being stirred up by our leaders, one thing is being lost: the persistent pattern of poverty is driving people to flee to the United States. They are fleeing out of desperation. Yet, very few are asking the hard questions of “why does poverty exist?”. God has made a tremendous world that is filled with all types of food. Plant life, sea life, animal life and natural nutrition from the air, sun and water. God made an amazing world.

The people God send us to help do not have sufficient shelter, nutrition, clothing, literacy and hope. Many live-in areas where the lights go out often and clean water is scarce. Imagine your small cardboard home in the pitch-black night and not enough food to take care of your family. On top of that, image having athletes’ foot and no money to take care of the nagging pain. These are mild compared with the scorpions in the walls, leaking rooftop and constant criminal activity in the neighborhood.

Conclusion: These are all solvable by Man. Poverty is Man-made.

How Can It Be Solved?

Poverty can only be solved when compassion rules over greed, injustice and ignorance. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to occur while much of the world focuses on “self”. But, as Christians we are called to obey the Holy Scriptures and pursue compassion, generosity and a “them” attitude. 

Regardless of the hopelessness or incredible challenges, we are called to “go”. Not only “Go” but trust in our King to deliver His will for those we seek to serve. He called us to obey these two commandment:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

If we were living in a crime-infested area with extreme poverty, would we want someone to come and help us? Of course. Therefore, we are driven by His Spirit to “Go”. It is an obligation fueled by love, compassion and faith.

For Me, the Pattern Started Early

Growing up in a large family in the 70’s and 80’s in the suburbs of Boston provided its challenges and opportunity. We were neither middle class nor living in poverty. Not having too much taught so many lessons that produced a great desire to help others. We had winter nights without heating oil, periods with very little food and no real hope to pay for college. 

At age eighteen, this desire flourished with the freedom to pursue justice. Working with local charity groups and volunteering on a mission trip to Mexico followed. The desire to help others led a Boston area kid to an International destination. Incredible!

God Turns My World Upside-down

The trip to Mexico revealed even more clarity to the term “poverty”. This kind of poverty was different and terrifying. The situation seemed completely “foreign” to the “poverty” I experienced in the Boston area. In many ways it seemed hopeless. People were without food, clothes and property shelter. Some of the older people and single mothers lived within the “dump” so they could access discarded food, items and clothing.

Can you imagine?

The Pattern of Poverty Partly Broken

As I was in great distress from my experiences in Mexico, there came hope in the form of several individuals. Individuals drawn together by faith, love and hope. A Christian missionary from Belize was there helping individuals struggling in poverty. She was a true inspiration. She treated each person with incredible respect and love. 

Another amazing individual was a boy name Miguel. He would travel 4-5 miles each way daily to offer his work for food. Not food for him. Food for his family. An eleven-year-old boy seeking out the opportunity to bless his family.

This is where the word “pattern” comes in. Miguel is like many working children across our world. They sacrifice education to take care of their families. Noble, but forces the cycle of poverty to continue. Thank God that Miguel found God’s people and was able to get with food and going to school.

The Call of Jesus Christ – Matthew 25

Jesus clearly shows us His heart in Matthew 25. Not only His heart, but what He expects from us as His Disciples.

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

I encourage anyone ready this blog to go and do likewise. There is plenty of opportunity to help people around the world who are just looking to survive. Help them avoid human trafficking, crime rings, ruthless leaders and hopelessness. Delivery Jesus Christ, love, education and hope.