Click here to read a great article from David and Nancy French on how Christians can better posture themselves to make an impact in local and global poverty. Let me reiterate, please go and read it! In the list of the 5 ways given as the guide for fighting poverty I was especially struck by #2:
Second, don’t just live within your means, live below them. I know from bitter personal experience that following the all-too-typical American pattern of living exactly as prosperously as your paycheck allows not only places your family in peril in the event of job loss but also dramatically impacts our ability to be generous to those in need. We have to understand — to the very core of our being — that our money and assets ultimately belong not to us but to God. I have seen friends in need and been unable to help because of my own (very silly) financial choices.
This is a really important encouragement for us to understand and put into practice. Unfortunately, American culture assumes we should basically tap our paycheck every month. There’s no concerted effort by our society to encourage planned generosity. You’ll never be questioned for having a nice house, nice cars, and nice things. That’s what you should do, according to our collective cultural mentality. But is that what Christians should do? Is that how all Americans, regardless of religion, should live?
Christians: Obviously no, Christians should not accept this particular cultural norm. The Bible is replete with encouragements to give generously (Prv. 14:21), spontaneously (Lk. 10:25-37), and intentionally (2 Cor. 9:1-5). All of this giving is rooted in the good news that Christ gave generously for us and to us (2 Cor. 8:9). We give in order to show the world that Christ gave Himself for their sakes.
All Americans: Possessions are more of a burden than a blessing. You’ll only derive joy from your stuff if you commit it to the joy of others. Apart from that, there are people suffering who need your charity. More and more, the government is seeing that increased government programming does not help the poor. It’s too easy to manipulate the systems. We need people to be charitable with their time and their resources in their communities. This is a much more organic and effective model.
Let’s all take away something from the article from David and Nancy French that I posted above. Find a way to intentionally invest your resources in someone who needs them more than you do. People will continue to crumble unless you do.
For His glory and fame,