Christians must care for the poor

Published 9:06 pm Friday, April 21, 2017

By Rev. Dr. Chris Surber

Can it really be true that bread and buttons are worth more than blood and bodies in this world?

In Haiti, where my family once lived and continue to do ministry, a man will happily receive just a couple of dollars a day to spend a week hand-digging a 60-or 70-foot well. To buy him a good, sturdy, new pick to dig it costs more.

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According to the newer upgraded minimum wage in Ghana, West Africa, is 7 Ghanaian Cedi per day. That is the equivalent of $1.68. According to, a head of lettuce at a market in Ghana costs $1.70. Imagine if you couldn’t even buy a head of lettuce after putting in an entire day’s labor.

Those kinds of conditions are reality for two thirds of the world. The daily realities of life in most of the world are nearly unimaginable to us.

We wear the cheap shirts born of the toil and labor of the lucky few who could get a job at all. Our children play with and then discard the low-priced toys produced by people in the developing world whose children could never afford to own those toys.

We consume and consume. When we are momentarily satisfied, we discard and start the cycle over again.

But if we are followers of Jesus, we are not supposed to simply consume and discard and consume again. We are called to do something. We are called to cre. But why?

God has always despised those who took advantage of the poor. “’What do you mean by crushing my people, by grinding the face of the poor?’” declares the Lord GOD of hosts.” (Isaiah 3:15 ESV)

Jesus gave numerous examples of caring for the poor and told us to care about them. “But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”(Luke 14:13-14 ESV)

Poverty is an inherent condition to a broken and sin-fallen world. The world’s poor are not that way because they didn’t keep up on their investments or got in a bad place because of credit cards. In most of the world a mortgage, a loan, or even a credit card are unheard of.

Many of the poorest people I know in the developing world don’t even have a birth certificate or a roof that can fool the rain, for that matter.

If you are a Christian, caring for the poor isn’t optional or reserved strictly for Mother Teresa-types looking for a feel-good fix or a “look at me with this shoeless kid” selfie for Facebook.

If we are followers of Jesus, He’s already called us to care for the poor. What are we waiting for? “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.” (Proverbs 19:17 ESV)

Rev. Dr. Chris Surber is the pastor at Liberty Spring Christian Church. Email him at