The Poor Will [Not?] Always be With You

Brad M. Griffin | Jul 11, 2011

Is the end of poverty in our age possible? Is it even something we should want or hope for? Can the eradication of extreme povertymeaning folks who live on less than $1.25 per daybecome reality before the renewal of all creation that only God can bring?

Taking on the typical Christian come-back to those kinds of questions, The poor will always be with you, Dr. Scott Todd from Compassion International is pushing believers forward to think differently about Gods heart for justice now, not just in the future.

Did Jesus really ordain economic poverty? Do we expect that the poor will always be poor? Are we satisfied with such low expectations for the shalom of broken people and systems in our lifetime? Consider these facts from this 8-minute film:

  • $5 can save a child from measles through a simple vaccine. The number of kids who die each year from measles has dropped by 78% over the last 8 years.
  • Similarly, 22 countries have cut their malaria rate in half over the span of 6 years.
  • Since the 1980s the number of children who die each day from preventable diseases has been cut in half, from 40,000 to just over 20,000.
  • 1.4 billion live in extreme poverty today. Thats a lot. But in 1981, 52% of the worlds population lived in extreme poverty. Today its only 26%. If in one generation we cut that percentage in half, imagine what we could do in another 30 years.
  • In the U.S. alone there are 138 million Christians who attend church regularly, collectively earning $2.5 trillion per year. If this group were a country, we would represent the 7th wealthiest nation on earth. What could be done with those resources to bring an end to extreme poverty?

Todd proposes that if we take on the true fast of Isaiah 58 we can take action to bring an end to extreme poverty within a generation. Thats a bold claim.

Watch the video now, maybe read the 19-page strategy, and see what you think. What kind of action might bring truly deep justice for those living in extreme poverty worldwide? How could the teenagers you knowand their familiesembrace that kind of radical vision and put it into action?

http://youtu.be/7uZV90fsoCY

Brad M. Griffin

Brad M. Griffin is the Senior Director of Content for the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), where he develops research-based training for youth workers and parents. A speaker, blogger, and volunteer youth pastor, Brad is the coauthor of Faith in an Anxious World, Growing Young, several Sticky Faith books, Every Parent’s Guide to Navigating Our Digital World, and the series Can I Ask That?: 8 Hard Questions about God and Faith. Brad and his family live in Southern California.


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