Life.  Some see it as a randomly assigned smattering of days with no purpose.  Others believe in divine appointments they rarely keep.  For most, ordinary.  But it doesn't have to be.   What if we dared to go the narrow way? Join me in taking THE FAITH DARE.

Caution: Participating in this challenge might force you to give up some of the things (people?) dearest to you. This challenge could change your life.  Join at your own risk.

Monday, June 21, 2010

FAITHdare #17: Poverty and the Heart of God

"Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases; for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him" Psalm 49:16-17.
Thus begins the FAITHdare month that will leave most despising me, the month focusing on money. Why is money such a touchy subject? No doubt, it was a touchy subject with those who came into contact with Jesus as well. The Bible includes hundreds of scriptures about money, a topic that seems to not only be on the hearts of men, but on the heart of God as well. So where do I begin?

Just like any other graduating high school student, I was excited to identify and pursue careers that would offer me success I like nice things; I like comfort. So I began to look into careers that would provide me with both. Certainly money was not the center of my decision making process regarding colleges and majors, but it was most definitely a piece of what was factored. What I hadn't factored, however, was God's work in my heart.

He confronted me with verses like:
"He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich--both come to poverty."
-Proverbs 22:16
"Jesus answered, 'If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.'"
-Matthew 19:21

"He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses."
-Proverbs 28:27
I began to look into the reality that plagues the world around me. I was shocked and horrified. Here's what I found (all statistics found HERE and HERE):

The poorest 40 percent of the world’s population accounts for 5 percent of global income. The richest 20 percent accounts for three-quarters of world income.

Almost two in three people lacking access to clean water survive on less than $2 a day, with one in three living on less than $1 a day.
Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.

1 in every 2 children worldwide lives in poverty.
2.2 million children die each year...because they are not immunized.
The wealthiest nation on Earth has the widest gap between rich and poor of any industrialized nation.

Global priorities in 1998?
$8 billion on cosmetics in the US ($9 billion is estimated to be enough to provide water and sanitation resources to all)•$12 billion on perfume in Europe and the US ($13 billion is estimated to be enough to provide basic health and nutrition to all)
$17 billion on pet food in the US and Europe
$780 billion on military spending worldwide

Friends, when did our cosmetics, perfume, and pet food become more important that caring for the lost? When did
become more important than THIS?

I don't claim to know much of anything, and I'm certainly not perfect, but I wonder...Can God be pleased with an obligatory offering, a small fraction of what we have, when His people are dying from starvation and preventable diseases? Can He?

"Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy."
-Ezekiel 16:49
Are we much different than Sodom? And what became of Sodom?

"He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God."
-Proverbs 14:31
Are you showing contempt for your Maker?

Friends, I live on so much more than $1 a day. What if, for a week, I lived the way most of world lives and gave away what I don't spend? I am NOT perfect in this area, but God is continuing to open my eyes and work in my heart. Will you let Him do the same in you?

FAITHdare # 17
Live on under $2/day for one week (or as close to it as possible) and give the money you save to the poor (if you don't know where to contribute, consider giving to THIS ministry...a ministry one of our own is a part of!)

If you are interested in pursuing this topic more, watch THIS...or open your Bible! God has so much to say about wealth and the poor! And if you have something to share with the rest of us, please feel free to do so...just please don't eat me! We are all learning and growing!

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