What is Poverty? Big question you say. Well yes, how do you define a persons state or condition with many factors and influences, restrictions and bonds into a few words.
Today we had our first Chennai Challenge meeting. It was great to see a potential team coming together and sharing expectation, previous experiences and having a fun time bonding.
Amongst all of this came the reality of what we are going to see and do whilst we journey thousands of miles away to a strange country. We are going to be visiting some of the poorest areas of Chennai, walking past the homeless on the streets, have children begging at our feet and tugging at our clothing. To see it up close is challenge enough, knowing how to help is another. Keeping it fresh and real without it becoming the norm or expectation is probably the hardest challenge.
This is my third year joining Chennai Challenge in their short project in a bid to make a small difference to a big problem. Each year I still take a second glance at the old man sleeping on the edge of the pavement, find it hard to turn my back on the begging hand desperately reaching in through the bus window.
So what is a christian perspective on poverty? Does it differ from a non-christians. To understand this, is one of the 4 challenges we will be expected to undertake over the next 8 months.
Tonight our very first thought for the day involved a video looking at what poverty is and our challenge should we wish to accept it.
We need to break the cycle, stop looking down our nose and meet each other eye to eye. We are all the same in God’s eyes and not one is loved more than the other. Our possessions and wealth are not what defines us but the way we live and love.
The greatest part about Chennai Challenge is being there. Showing our love for those who are not as fortunate. It doesn’t take a christian perspective to know that poverty is unjust and wrong, but maybe it takes the example of Jesus for us to realise that we can do something about it. Jesus championed the least and the lost, the hurt and the broken. Why should we care?
‘God of Justice, Saviour to all. Came to rescue the weak and the poor. Chose to serve and not be served.
Jesus, you have called us. Freely we’ve received, now freely we will give.
We must go, live to feed the hungry. Stand beside the broken, we must go. Stepping forward keep us from just singing. Move us into action, we must go.’