Living Social Justice

A blog about responding to poverty and injustice, everyday and in all sorts of ways

Who are ‘the poor’?

– A message from the Common Ground Street and Shelter ministry team

Often Jesus would spend time with the poor. In the Gospel, He also stressed great importance on giving to the poor and loving the poor.  We, as the Common Ground Street and Shelter ministry team, have come across many problems in trying to give freely and generously to the poor and destitute. Our prayer has been for the Lord to give us discernment in the way we love the poor and the way in which we give generously.

Most South Africans have a general view of the poor as being people that are unemployed and unable to get a job. Although many people living in poverty are unemployed, there are many different reasons for unemployment and loss of dignity in each case.

Some people struggle with addiction while others struggle with foreign working permits; both of these people are poor but one of them needs money and administrative help, while the other needs hard truth and intensive care. We have found money and food to be a temporary measure to helping those in poverty. The permanent fix comes from character transformation, which can only be executed by loving them in the right way and with the appropriate means.

In some cases it might mean a small fee for an ID but in most cases its hard truth about their reality and walking a long journey out of denial into dignity with them. Many problems arise from those that are poverty-stricken, but we believe that one thing remains constant and that is the power of Christ to transform lives and re-shape character in people.

One thing that most people in poverty have in common is a hope deficiency. As a ministry, our only cure for this deficiency is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Through sharing the Gospel with those in poverty we have seen lives changed and people transformed in front of our eyes! The amazing thing that we have realized is that as people accept the power of Christ to work in their lives, they are wealthier than they have ever been. In fact they are wealthier than the richest people who surround them!

Jesus tells us that the poor will always be with us (Matthew 26: 11). He is not looking for a cure to all poverty; He wants us to invest in the poor because that’s where His wealth lies. We pray as a ministry that your generous hearts are basted with discernment and that as you follow Christ you will invest in the lives that are smothered in poverty, giving Jesus the chance to cure their hope deficiency.

– The Common Ground Street and Shelter ministry meets on Tues, 6.30-7.30pm. Email info@commongood.org.za for more details.

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