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Causes of Poverty

Why will the poor be always among us? ๐Ÿ‘€
What are the causes of poverty? ๐Ÿ’ต
What should my attitude be towards the poor?โ˜๏ธ

This week's devotional will explore 7 causes of poverty and how we can avoid falling victim to poverty as a result of our sinfulness.

Causes of Poverty
”For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always.”
Matthew 26:11

๐Ÿ‘”๐Ÿ’ผ Many successful entrepreneurs started out poor or came from poor families. Some in their entrepreneurship journey may also experience temporary material poverty due to the trials and tests of building a business before they are able to see the fruit of financial success. Early in our journey, even my wife and I were surprised to discover that our income was below the poverty line according to the United States Internal Revenue Service tax code. Poverty is defined as “a condition characterized by severe deprivation of basic human needs including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education, and information.” (The Copenhagen Declaration, discussed at the U.N.) There are also statistical definitions of poverty. For instance, the World Bank’s current statistical definition for extreme global poverty is set at $1.90 a day, which means that a person is considered to be in extreme poverty if they live on less than this amount per day. What's concerning is that current statistics findings reveal that almost half of the world's population — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. In the U.S.A., the official poverty rate as of 2016, stands at 12.7 percent. That means an estimated 43.1 million Americans are living in poverty. ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

๐Ÿ™Œ The world’s goal is to eradicate poverty. Although this goal is noteworthy and honorable, it is also unrealistic. The Scriptures declare that the poor will always be among us (John 12:8). Why would a loving God allow this since He has the power to alleviate poverty? The fact is, like sickness and disease, poverty is a consequence of the fall of man. Prior to sin, man enjoyed a perfect union with God, total provision, and perfect health. However, due to the desire for more, Adam and Eve gave into the devil’s temptation and ate the forbidden fruit, which led to their fall. That fall had several consequences, one of which included material poverty.๐ŸŽ

๐Ÿ‘ซBecause of Adam and Eve’s sin, we all deserve permanent material poverty, but due to God’s mercy and the redemption of Jesus Christ, we have the opportunity to escape it through work. In spite of the mercy of God and the price that Jesus paid for us on the cross, not all will escape material poverty. Since we live in a fallen world, there are forces beyond our control that may cause some of us to temporarily or permanently experience material poverty. There are also many of us who experience poverty as a result of our own choices. Here are some common reasons individuals and families become victims of material poverty: ๐Ÿ‘จ‍๐Ÿ‘ฉ‍๐Ÿ‘ง‍๐Ÿ‘ฆ 

  1. War ๐Ÿ’ฃ
    Being a victim of military attack by a foreign force or a group within your own country. This usually leads to loss of material resources for individuals and destruction of infrastructure within the country where the war occurs. 
    "Now it happened, when David and his men came to Ziklag, on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the South and Ziklag, attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire." - I Samuel 30:1
  2. Natural disaster (Illness) ๐Ÿคฎ
    Being a victim of forces of nature such as drought, hurricanes, physical ailment, etc.“There I will provide for you, lest you and your household, and all that you have, come to poverty; for there are still five years of famine.” - Genesis 45:11.
  3. Government Injustice โš–๏ธ
    Being a victim of unjust laws and policies by government. 
    “Much food is in the fallow ground of the poor, And for lack of justice there is waste." - Proverbs 13:23
  4. Laziness ๐Ÿ™‡‍โ™‚๏ธ
    An unwillingness to exercise any effort or being unproductive. 
    "A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep - so shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man." - Proverbs 6:10-11; 24:30-34; 20:13
  5. Rejection of wisdom ๐Ÿšซ
    Choosing not to learn or follow best known practices or the known instructions of the Lord. "Poverty and shame will cometo him who disdains correction, But he who regards a rebuke will be honored." - Proverbs 13:18
  6. Lack of Self-Control or Love of Pleasure  ๐ŸŸ ๐Ÿ•
    Not being able to discipline oneself, or the overindulgence of things such as food, drink, and entertainment. 
    "He who loves pleasure will be a poor man; He who loves wine and oil will not be rich."- Proverbs 21:17; 28:19; 23:21
  7. Greed ๐Ÿคท‍โ™‚๏ธ
    A restless and ambitious pursuit of material gain. 
    “A man with an evil eye hastens after riches, and does not consider that poverty will come upon him." - Proverbs 28:22

๐Ÿ™Œ It is important to note that all of these causes are consequences of sin. These are mere symptoms of a greater illness. So then, what should our attitude be towards the poor? Although the poor will always be among us, we are called to show them the love of Christ and treat poverty as an enemy of the Gospel. As Biblical Entrepreneurs, we have a responsibility to first ensure that we are not victims of poverty as a result of our sinfulness. We need to do what we can, so that we may provide for ourselves and our families. Secondly, we must show mercy and not pity to those who are poor among us, especially fellow believers. Mercy recognizes that each person has the God-given ability to ensure his or her own well-being. It gives people a hand-up during difficult times so that they may continue to provide for themselves and their families. On the other hand, pity ignores an individuals God-given potential and creates a dependency that destroys their inner ability to provide for themselves. Pity turns the giver into an idol and the receiver into an idolater, while mercy keeps the focus on the Lord as the ultimate provider and creates a heart of worship and honor toward God.๐Ÿ™Œ 

๐Ÿ™My prayer for you today is that God will give you the grace to avoid being a victim of poverty and the wisdom to know how to show mercy on the poor.๐Ÿ™

๐Ÿ‘ฉ‍๐Ÿ’ผ ๐Ÿ‘จ‍๐Ÿ’ผShare these devotionals with a friend or coworker by directing them to our email signup page, located here.๐Ÿ—ฃ

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Posted on Saturday, 23 February 2019

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