Caring for the Poor, Biblical Mandate: Summery of “When helping hurts” How to alleviate poverty without hurting the poor and yourself.
What was the focus of Jesus’ Ministry?
When Jesus’ Ministry was tested and questioned by John the baptist:
Jesus Focussed on the poor: and wants us to focus on the poor:
This is the fulfillment of the OT plan God had for Isreal:
God gave Moses numerous commands in- structing Israel to care for the poor. The Sabbath guaranteed a day of rest for the slave and alien (Ex. 23:10–12). The Sabbath year canceled debts for Is- raelites, allowed the poor to glean from the fields, and set slaves free as well as equipping the slaves to be productive (Deut. 15:1–18). The Jubilee year emphasized liberty; it released slaves and returned land to its original owners (Lev. 25:8–55). Other laws about debt, tithing, and gleaning ensured that the poor would be cared for each day of the year (Lev. 25:35–38; Deut. 14:28–29; Lev. 19:9–10). The com- mands were so extensive that they were designed to achieve the ultimate goal of eradicating poverty among God’s people: “There should be no poor among you,” God declared (Deut. 15:4).
God judges our worship as fruitless and futile if we neglect the poor:
God’s answer to the poverty question of mankind is His kingdom:
The kingdom is the renewal of the whole world through the entrance of supernatural forces. As things are brought back under Christ’s rule and authority, they are restored to health, beauty, and free- dom.
The way God shows His Kingdom to the World is by using the poor, the weak en simple to display His glory:
Poor people typically talk in terms of shame, inferiority, powerlessness, humiliation, fear, hopelessness, depression, social isolation, and voicelessness.
God established four foundational relationships for each person: a relationship with God, with self, with others, and with the rest of creation (see figure 2.1).¹⁴ These relationships are the building blocks for all of life. When they are functioning properly, humans experience the full- ness of life that God intended, because we are being what God created us to be
Poverty is the result of relationships that do not work, that are not just, that are not for life, that are not harmonious or enjoyable. Poverty is the absence of shalom in all its meanings
Every human being is suffering from a poverty of spiritual intimacy, a poverty of being, a poverty of community, and a poverty of stewardship.
The materially poor are trapped by multiple, interconnected factors—insufficient assets, vulnerability, powerlessness, isolation, and physical weakness— that ensnare them like bugs caught in a spider’s web.¹⁷ Imagine being caught in such a web.
According to Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, it is this lack of freedom to be able to make meaningful choices—to have an ability to affect one’s situation—that is the distinguishing feature of poverty
Poverty alleviation is the ministry of reconciliation: moving people closer to glorifying God by living in right relationship with God, with self, with others, and with the rest of creation. Material poverty alleviation is working to reconcile the four foundational relationships so that people can fulfill their callings of glorifying God by working and supporting themselves and their families with the fruit of that work.
We are building people, leaders, community, an economic base, and capacity, not a product for profit.