"Having traveled the globe for thirty years and trained leaders in 164 countries, I’ve witnessed firsthand that almost every government and NGO (non-profit) poverty program is actually harmful to the poor, hurting them in the long run rather than helping them. The typical poverty program creates dependency, robs people of dignity, stifles initiative, and can can foster a 'What have you done for me lately?' sense of entitlement.” — Rick Warren (The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution by Wayne Grudem and Barry Asmus)
I have the same sentiments as Rick Warren, renowned author of The Purpose Given Life and Senior Pastor of Saddleback Church, when it comes to helping the poor. I’ve struggled with this because I also saw first-hand how some of the people (and even relatives) whom my parents helped became overly dependent on them. There was also a sense of entitlement coming from them. But, if "charity" as we know it is not the solution to poverty, then what is?
I started reading a book called The Poverty of Nations, A Sustainable Solution by Wayne Grudem, a theologian, and Barry Asmus, an economist. Over the next few days or weeks, I’ll be sharing with you the things I learned and also some personal insights.
But, one of my mantras when it comes to helping the poor is “Help others help themselves.” I believe that equipping others with skills and knowledge is more important and effective than merely feeding them. As the old saying goes: “Give man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach man how to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” That’s why when I started working five years ago, I gave my tithes to our church community and donated to literacy programs from time.
Today, I also want to share with you a new dream. On March or April 2017, my fiancee and I are dreaming of facilitating Jeff Cavins’ The Bible Timeline: The Story of Salvation. It is a weekly bible study for Catholics or those who want to learn more about God and His plan of salvation for us.
How will a bible study help the poor and the less privileged?
To be honest with you, I don’t know. At least, not yet. But, The Bible Timeline helped me tremendously in understanding the Bible. It helped me go deeper in my relationship with God. It also opened my eyes to my responsibilities as a Christian. As Jeff Cavins would say, “Hearing demands a response.” And my response is equipping others with God’s word and spirit. We hope and pray that by facilitating The Bible Timeline, others will be inspired to bring the lessons and the word of God with them to their own families, parishes, churches, and communities. Later on, we also hope that they can also bring them to the poor.
One of the most important things we learned from The Bible Timeline is the importance of caring for the poor and the less privileged. Through The Bible Timeline, we also hope that the fire in others to help the poor will be stirred up.
Finally, we consider facilitating The Bible Timeline simply as the first step of many. We hope that through this first step, we'll learn how to equip and impact the poor directly and effectively spread God’s word to the youth and the less privileged. For now, we want to take the small steps that we can. Simply because we can. With everything happening around the world, we felt a sense of urgency in doing our missions as Christians—to love God and to love others. We don’t want to delay any longer. So, we’re starting with what we can do right now.
As I end this post, I’m inviting you to join us in this new adventure, in this new journey. We also hope that one day, we can spread God’s word and love to the poor and equip the less privileged together. You can send me an email indicating your intent or interest to join The Bible Timeline through my contact form. I'll personally keep you posted as we iron out the details of the study.
This is just the beginning, the best is yet to come.