A while before I had heard of the blog action day topic for this year I had come across the video below. Initially there was no connection between the two in my mind. I heard of poverty and instantly jumped to financial poverty. It’s an easy jump to make and an important thing of which to raise awareness. It is my assumption though that a great number of the blogs participating in blog action day are focusing on financial poverty. I wanted to take it in a slightly different direction.
This video is from The Work of the People. I have followed t.w.o.t.p. for some time and have always been a fan of the material that they make available. In this particular video they are listening to a Brazilian pastor by the name of Claudio Oliver as he describes a new approach to the way we think when we think about mission trips and charity.
One of my favorite quotes in the video is towards the end when Oliver states:
“Next time you think about a mission trip, it’s not bad to go and build places, help people to have good meeting places. Those places will eventually disappear. They will be destroyed because of aging, because of time. Go there and build something that can’t be shown to your church in a picture…some immaterial beauty you can build is the building of friendship…because friendship will last forever.”
I don’t write this to be defiant of helping the poor and impoverished. That isn’t at all my point. The thing that I would like to draw attention to and call for every to act on is not simply focusing on the material poverty. See that many times people have spiritual and emotional poverty that far outweighs their financial poverty.
So, as we find the action to take to stand up against poverty remember to focus not only on the material poverty. We can build shelters and feed the hungry, but their stomachs will eventually be empty again. Build shelters, fill stomachs, but also build relationships and fill hearts with genuine care and love. Approach them as a human not as a project. Greet them. Learn their name. Listen to their story. Show them that they aren’t forgotten.