Friday, October 4, 2013

There Will Always Be Poor and You Can Do Good For Them Whenever You Want

For you will always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. 
-Mark 14:7

The topic of poverty has been on my mind and heart a lot recently as the group of guys that I am working with all genuinely have needs. Some needs, as a brother in Christ, I can meet, but other needs I cannot realistically meet as much as I want to help them. Wrestling through these issues have caused me to re-read the book When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor and Yourself. This is still one of the most highly recommended books that I know on the topic and recommend that you get a copy if you care for the poor and have not read through it yourself.

The below video has been out for a few months now, but I just came across it this week through a blog of a friend. This helps me see the needs of those that I am in contact with daily even more and helps remind me that whenever I want, I can do good for them as Jesus told his disciples. The reality is that I cannot eradicate the poverty of the world or even those that I am working with closely, but I can help them. As followers of Christ we are all encouraged in this way, so my question for you, are you doing your part?

1 comment:

  1. The problem with this video is that treats wealth like a static thing.

    I'll grant that many of the wealthiest of people may often have bad motives, they are also wealthy because they are good at managing money. There are plenty of poor people who have the same bad motives. They just aren't as good at managing money.

    But wealth is kinetic rather than static. Money that isn't being used is not worth anything. But when you use money, it passes from one person or fiscal entity to another. Fiscal entities hire people, so it's good that they have money. Their wealth flows out to the people who rely on the income from those fiscal entities in order to provide for their families.

    Public sector fiscal entities like governments don't usually generate wealth. Some do. But they don't compete so the wealth they generate isn't usually commensurate with what they agree to pay the people who work for them. That's why they need to rely on wealth generated elsewhere.

    Private sector fiscal entities usually have to compete in the generation of their wealth. This means that they need to produce more wealth than they pay the people who work for them. In fact, they usually need to generate enough wealth to sustain public sector fiscal entities as well.

    The owners of fiscal entities, by virtue of direct ownership or stock shares, are counted as worth the throughput of the fiscal entities they are invested in. That means that their wealth is tied up in the cumulative value of the paychecks and assets of the people who work for the fiscal entities. That's why as the population of the world grows the wealth of the wealthiest grows commensurately.

    So as the wealthiest have gotten wealthier, have the poorest gotten poorer? Actually, they haven't. I don't think the percentage of the poorest has grown much any more than their standard of life. What has improved is the standard of life for the middle classes. I'm amazed at how many more conveniences I have than parents did. I was amazed to see that many in the slums of India even had television and almost everyone I see in Venezuela, even many of the lower class urban people, have cell phones.

    While the inequity is unfair, I believe that God uses it to bless us all. God isn't a fair God. None of us deserve even what the poorest among us has. It's far better to be grateful for what he has given us than to complain that some of us have more.