There are all different kinds of views on economic inequality, and how to close the gap from the rich and the poor. There are all different kinds of views on why poverty exists, and there are all kinds of views on what actually constitutes as someone who is poor or even needy.
Capitalism vs. Socialism
In America, we have 2 main systems that are set up to distribute wealth in our country and in turn addressing the poor and the needy within our society…Capitalism and socialism
Both systems have pros and both systems have cons.
Pros and cons
• Pro: Capitalism produces personal responsibility and entrepreneurship Socialism values equality
• Pro: Socialism values equality
• Con: Socialism can foster dependency, entitlement and laziness
The conversation should not be Red vs. Blue, Republicans vs Democrats, Conservative vs. Liberal, or Capitalism vs Socialism…the conversation needs to be biblical worldview vs secular worldview, godly perspective vs worldly perspective… In a free society, government reflects the soul of its people. If people want change at the top, they will have to live in different ways. Our major social problems are not the cause of our decadence (Moral or cultural decline). They are a reflection of it. – Cal Thomas
Instead of hoping that the system will take care of poor/needy people, we as Christians need to look at scripture and what it says and live our lives accordingly. Let’s take a look at some biblical principles when it comes to taking care of people in need:
As followers/disciples of Jesus…
1) We value others
-All made in the image of God with infinite value and worth Imago Dei
Genesis 1:27 (NIV)
-Equality (value) – We value other people because scripture tells us that we are all equal in value
Galatians 3:26-29 (NIV)
2) We love others
If we value others then, in turn, we will begin to see others how God does and we can then begin to love them.
Philippians 2:3 (NIV)
We have already talked about how we are all equal in value, but what if we actually treated people as if they were more valuable than us? How would that change how we treated people?
-To love does not mean we always give people what they want, but what they need
-People over possessions
Acts 2 – Sold, gave to those in need
-Generosity -If I am going to make a mistake and lean too far in one direction it should be to be too generous…not too stingy
3) We work hard 2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NLT) 1 Timothy 5:18 (NIV) Acts 20:34-35 (NLT)
Have you positioned your life to where you can respond to God when He calls you to give?
Generosity fund-Do you have a generosity fund in your budget that you put a certain percentage to each paycheck that you are able to pull from to meet the needs of people around you.
Conclusion-Some people may be physically rich, but spiritually bankrupt…what do we do with that?
Ephesians 6-Armor of God
Practical application this week:
Read each morning Ephesians 6:10-20 and pray on the armor of God.
“God, right now I put on the belt of truth. I pray that I will know what truth is according to your word and I pray that I will live in the truth. If I am tempted to lie, manipulate truth or withhold information I shouldn’t, I pray that I would not give in.
God, I put on the breastplate of righteousness. I pray that you would remind me that because of what Jesus did for me on the cross, I have been made righteous. I pray that I would live my life according to the righteous standard you have laid out.
God, I pray that wherever I go today I would be a living, breathing, example of the gospel of Jesus. Whether in word or in action, I pray that people would see Jesus in me. Please give me the opportunity today to talk to someone about you. I pray that whatever I do, I would represent you.
God, I take up the shield of faith. I pray that you would increase my faith in you today as you walk with me in all of my life’s circumstances. Please help me to trust you and know that you are in control. I pray that my faith in you would not waver, but would grow as the trials of life get harder, and circumstances become more challenging.
God, I put on the helmet of salvation. Thank you for saving me from my sin, from death, and from hell. Thank you, Jesus, that you died for me and gave me a new life. Please protect my thinking today. I pray that I would not conform to the patterns of this world, but that I would be transformed by the renewing of my mind.
God, I take with me today the sword of the Spirit…Your word. God, your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. I pray that I would hide your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. I cannot live off of bread alone but by every word that proceeds from your mouth so today, God I pray that you would fill my mind with your words to lead, guide and direct every step I take.
I pray all of this in Jesus’ name. Amen!”
For discussion with your small group, family and friends.
Questions to discuss: (Passages: Deuteronomy 24:17-22; James 1:22-27)
that could cause anger, harm, anxiety, fear. I will bring peace of understanding your good story and ways where I go. Your word, your
way will be how I fight the right fights. Help me, Spirit of God, to walk your way in the places you have placed me in.