How should Christians respond to global poverty and hunger?
One topic that takes up a significant amount of biblical real estate is poverty. On the one side God talks about His role is bringing justice and comfort to the poor (Psalm 9:17–18; 12:5). Psalm 140:12 says, " I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and will execute justice for the needy." One day God will end poverty once and for all. In the meantime, however, God commands us to advocate for and take care of the poor. "Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy" (Proverbs 31:8–9).
Currently there are an estimated 3 billion people in poverty worldwide. Around 800 million people suffer from hunger and more than 750 million do not have access to clean drinking water. As Christians God has commanded us to love our neighbor and to care for the poor. The overwhelming need is evident, but how do we approach such a monumental problem?
Our first step is to trust in God. While the situation may seem hopeless, God is in control. He knows our most basic needs and provides for them (Matthew 6:25–34). He fights against evil and will one day bring an end to all the suffering on earth.
Next, we need to have compassion for others. We have to recognize that poverty exists in our world and acknowledge the poor. We must turn away from our selfish desires and let our hearts be moved so that we desire to serve others.
With our trust in God and our hearts full of compassion, we are then ready to take action. Prayer is always a good place to start. We need to pray for God's intervention on behalf of the poor, the work of those combating poverty, and direction for how we can help. We should advocate for the poor by standing up for them when they are mistreated or forgotten. We should serve the poor whether through giving our time or resources.
In your own community you can serve at a homeless shelter or provide clothes and food for the less fortunate. You can set up support systems for the needy in your church. You can also donate money or volunteer for the numerous organizations that fight against poverty worldwide. A few notable organizations include Compassion International, which shares the gospel in addition to meeting physical needs of children in poverty; Mercy Ships, which provides surgeries and medical care to the poor; and CURE, which operates charitable hospitals serving children worldwide.
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