Monday, March 7, 2011

Poverty: A matter of perspective

“We don’t have to have lots of money, possessions, or financial security to be rich.” – John Avant

Do you believe this statement? How do you define rich? Thousands? Millions? Billions? How about: No debt? Limos? Jets? Multiple houses? How about just a house? Or a car? Maybe three meals a day. Maybe just one! How about clean drinking water? Sanitation? An education? Clothes on your back? How about a smile! Or, even better, a Savior!!!!

Rich is just a matter of perspective.

The question is; “Whatever you have, are you willing to give it up?” 2 Corinthians 8:9 says, “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” I’m pretty sure Jesus was not materially rich (at least not how we view it). However, he gave us his most valuable possession; his life. John Avant believes that, “One of the best evidences that we really believe in God is how we invest our money.

How do you invest yours?

“Oh the joys of those who are kind to the poor” Psalm 41a

According to “Poverty is the lack of basic human needs, such as clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter, because of the inability to afford them.” We founded Red Page Ministries out of our love for Romania and our desire to see her people restored to the place God intended. Our vision: to end poverty in rural Romania, one village at a time. The International Fund for Agricultural Development, a specialized agency of the United Nations has found that, “Poverty has a firm grip on Romania’s rural areas, where almost half (44 per cent) of the population lives. In 2003 the UNDP Human Development report estimated that 38 per cent of rural people were living in poverty, compared with 14 per cent of people in urban areas. Rural people are particularly vulnerable to the hardships brought by the painful economic and social transition after the collapse of communism. Low agricultural productivity is one of the main causes of poverty in rural Romania. And in rural areas there are limited opportunities for formal employment opportunities, partly because of minimum wage regulations, high payroll taxes and the rigid labor code. Inadequate social services, reflected in the poor condition of rural health centers, long distances to schools and poor sanitation facilities, also contribute to rural poverty.”

If that is not reason enough to get involved then I challenge you to think about the children. According to UNICEF, “There was an estimated 2.17 million poor persons in Romania in 2009 with rural poverty double that of urban poverty. The international crisis and the expected increase of food and energy prices have drastically affected Romania’s children. Some 75% of poor children live in rural areas, where the poverty risk is three times higher than for children living in urban areas. Children from poor and rural areas are more likely than other children to be abandoned, institutionalized, to drop out of school, and later to be found on the streets. There is a large percentage of rural children left behind by parents migrating to other countries in search of better job opportunities. Weaknesses in preventive and integrated community-based services, combined with poor family care practices and changing social norms and values have lead to these manifestations.”

Poverty is everywhere; that I do not deny. It’s across the street, down the road, and across the ocean. Finding it is not the problem. Responding to it is! In his thought provoking, action challenging book Radical, David Platt challenges, “Anyone wanting to proclaim the glory of Christ to the end of the earth must consider not only how to declare the gospel verbally but also how to demonstrate the gospel visibly.” Time to do some demonstrating. Aspire to new heights!

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