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Deuteronomy 15, James 5:1-4, I Timothy 6:17-19

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.