A whole new way to think about poverty

By Chuck Bentley

Having just returned from a conference in Zimbabwe, I had the opportunity to get to know many who are living in poverty and great lack. In addition to very few jobs, very low income, limited access to comforts and what we consider the basic necessities, even enduring unspeakable hardships under the cruel dictatorship of Robert Mugabe, I found people full of faith, hope, and joy.

a whole new way to think about poverty

Certainly, I am not wishing material poverty on anyone and I do my very best to help people escape the trap of poverty and learn to thrive. We are partnering with Foundations for Farming, an organization that teaches wonderful skills in conservation agriculture that is profoundly working! Crop yields are increasing from 200 percent even up to 1000 percent. We help these families manage their resources and finances. But in many ways, I noticed people who are actually rich in their souls.

Let me share with you from James 2:5, “Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?”

I met so many people who love God, who rely upon Him for their daily bread, water, health, and joy. Their mouths overflow with worship. Their singing is infectious and causes even me to want to dance along with them as they sway, clap, and shout for joy as they praise God for His kindness. I want to be careful that we don’t get poverty backwards, like the Rich Man in Luke 16 who lived in luxury but went to hell because he was not rich toward God.

The Bible asks us what does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul? What does it really mean to be poor? I think material poverty is painful, but poverty of the soul is the ultimate definition of what it means to be poor.

Originally posted 3/26/2015.