READ: Proverbs 14
THINK: There’s a great deal of wisdom in this passage, and a number of helpful things to remember. But I want to focus specifically on the thread woven throughout this chapter of wealth, poverty, & success. It’s easy to get so caught up in the worldly methods of pursuing wealth and success that we ignore the poor and the needy around us or, worse yet, oppress them either implicitly or explicitly. But as Proverbs 14:31 reminds us, “Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” The same God who made us also made every human on this planet, and we have a responsibility to care for his people. Today we’re going to do something a little different: there are some quotes about poverty listed below. Take a few minutes to read each one individually and think about how it applies to your life, specifically, as you try to live out the words of Proverbs 14:31.
“The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization…The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.” – Mother Theresa
“Poverty is the worst form of violence.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“The fact is that ours is the first generation that can look disease and extreme poverty in the eye, look across the ocean to Africa, and say this, and mean it. We do not have to stand for this. A whole continent written off – we do not have to stand for this.” – Bono
“It is poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.” – Mother Theresa
“We cannot suffer with the poor when we are unwilling to confront those persons and systems that cause poverty. We cannot set the captives free when we do not want to confront those who carry the keys. We cannot profess our solidarity with those who are oppressed when we are unwilling to confront the oppressor. Compassion without confrontation fades quickly to fruitless sentimental commiseration.” – Henri Nouwen
PRAY: Ask God to open your eyes to the poverty – physical, social, & spiritual – around you and show you the ways in which he wants to work through you to eradicate it.