Poverty in Canada
- Poverty is not just a reality in the Third World, but also a reality in Canada
- 1 in 7 Canadians - live in poverty
- 21% single moms in Canada raise their children while living in poverty
- 1.3 million children in Canada, which is 1 in 5 live in conditions of poverty
- 60% of Indigenous children on reserves live in poverty.
A Deeper Issue - Inequality Gap
- The fortunes of Canada’s 59 billionaires have increased by $111 billion since March 2020, which is more than the $109 billion that the Canadian government spent on income support for workers.
- Canada’s top 1% hold almost 26% of the country’s total wealth, while in contrast, the bottom 40% of Canadians hold only 1.2% of total wealth
- the problem is NOT because Canada is lack of resources
- The real issue is about an inequality gap between the richest and the poorest
Does God care?
- If our God has both power and care, why does God seem not doing anything?
- Facing such a cruel world of poverty and injustice, God has a very unique way
- God’s people are God’s agents to eradicate poverty and inequality in the world.
A Bold Vision about economic equality
- Deuteronomy 15:4-6 - But there will be no poor among you
- Zero Poverty is not just a sustainable development goal of the United Nations
- It is also a deep concern from God
- The God who cares about justice had a bold vision about zero poverty for the society
- In order to make it happened, God showed His people a very different view about lending money
Lending Money in God’s Way (Deut 15)
- In the Old Testament, according to God’s law, money was always loaned with the understanding that - every seven years, debts would be canceled
- God has established an economic system where no one had to be chronically poor
- But there will be no poor among you;
- For the lender, God also assured that He will bless them with more than they needed
- Behind this whole lending transaction, there is a spirit of giving and generosity
- Lending money is an act of love and justice.
- It is God’s way of helping those underprivileged to get back on their feet.
Bold Vision Continued
- Unfortunately, the Isralites did not fully obey God, and eventually, the society was full of exploitation, injustice and poverty
- The people of God were supposed to be the answer to eliminate poverty and injustice.
- Despite the failure of Israelites, God never gave up
- Jesus was sent to proclaim good news to the poor, and proclaimed the year of the Lord's favor.
- Jesus sent His disciples to continue His mission, and the early church was established as agents of change and transformation
Challenging the Early Church
- the early church was challenged to fulfilled God’s vision about economic equality
- In the Letter of James, the rich people were warned against defrauding the workers and withholding wages
- In the Letter of 1 Timothy, Paul continued to remind the rich to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share
What can we do today?
- Say NO to Exploitation
- Ethical consumerism is all about choosing goods that are ethically sourced, ethically made and ethically distributed.
- Think before you buy.
- Choose Certified
- Shop local / learn to fix
- Say YES to Generosity
- culture of generosity at Koinonia
- Richmond Food Bank
- Richmond Christmas Fund
- Vancouver Salvation Army - Backpack Drive
God’s people are God’s agents to eradicate poverty and inequality in the world.