Today I’m going back to one of the most basic lessons about poverty–one that everyone needs to understand but very few people actually get. It’s the infamous issue of dependency. Listen to this 20-minute episode to become an instant expert on the topic… or at least to get started with what you need to know. I also took some time to address the question that everyone seems to ask: What should I do instead? It’s not hard to avoid dependency—it’s really not!—after you grasp a few basic concepts. Let me know what you think of this episode. What else would you add? More listening options: Right-click to download Subscribe in iTunes Today’s episode is one of our foundational episodes on the theology of poverty. You can teach this material at your church by downloading our four-week curriculum free of charge.
When we walk with people living in poverty, communicating God’s love is one of the most important messages we bear. For those who feel forgotten by God and devalued by the world, the truth of God’s love can transform everything.
A beautiful truth about mankind is that God made us in His image. Genesis 1:26-27 puts it simply.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
Being made in the image of God is good news! It’s a profound statement of the value of each person, and of God’s love for each of us.
In this episode, we explore what it means to be made in God’s image. Listen and find unexpected ways to say “I love you”–and surprising ways we might be undermining the message.
Why do people remain poor?
This episode addresses six obstacles to positive change for people living in poverty. When all six of these obstacles are lifted, the change process can occur.
- Lack of education
- Lack of resources
- Human sinfulness
- Satanic deception
- Lack of supportive people
- Presence of opposition
When I explained this lesson to my 5- and 6-year-old daughters, here’s the language they understood for describing the six obstacles.
- No school
- No money
- Nobody helping
- Mean people
In this third foundational episode, we look at the roots of poverty. If we provide food, health, and education to people living in poverty, will we solve the problem? Or does poverty run deeper?
- Our understanding of how life works must be defined by God. (Romans 12:2)
- When we don’t listen to what God says about how life works, poverty happens somewhere. (Matthew 12:33-35)
- Our quality of life is based on the behaviors of ourselves and those around us, and those behaviors are ultimately rooted in beliefs and values.
- We must address the root causes of poverty—beliefs and values—in order to make lasting change.
- Before pointing fingers, American Christians should examine our own alignment to biblical values.
Mentioned in this episode:
This episode is the second in a series called “Laying the Foundation,” an update on the introductory episodes of Poverty Unlocked.
“’I just brought you the kingdom of God, and it’s a size 7 pair of shoes. But don’t thank me! Thank God…’ Does that strike anybody else as a pretty shallow kingdom?”
There is a difference between converts and disciples. Missional living is connected to wholistic ministry, but we need to make one step beyond living missionally. We discuss handing out food and shoes, and how to share Christ without undermining our message.
This episode is the first in a series called “Laying the Foundation,” an update on the introductory episodes of Poverty Unlocked.
Poverty started in Genesis. It was solved by the Christ’s work on our behalf. Because of Christ’s work, poverty can be overcome today, and it will be completely solved when God brings about a new heaven and earth. Understanding the Biblical story of poverty helps us to understand how Christians should respond to injustice and worldwide needs.
Read Walking with the Poor by Bryant Myers to learn more about these foundational concepts.