We must choose differently

Last week, the Irish Times published an article by journalist Fintan O’Toole calling for a national movement to end child poverty. In it he states that poverty is ‘a product of social, political and economic choices. Which means we can choose differently.

We can choose differently.

And so it turned out that not a person among them was needy. Those who owned fields or houses sold them and brought the price of the sale to the apostles and made an offering of it. The apostles then distributed it according to each person’s need. Acts 4:34-35

The painting Fintan O’Toole was trying to paint of an Ireland free from Poverty has already been seen. In Acts we read about the early church, how they began and what they did. They didn’t campaign for all of society to live as they did. They didn’t judge or chastise people outside the church. They didn’t separate themselves from the ‘secular’ world.

What did they do?

They, all those actively following Jesus, gathered together to encourage and confront each other. They ate and drank together. They told people, outside the church, about Jesus. They provided for each other to the point that ‘not a person among them was needy.

They chose differently; this is hugely important.

There must be no poor people among you. Deuteronomy 15:4

In Deuteronomy 15, God declares that if his people are obeying him, as they should, then no enduring poverty could exist in their community. God’s love for those in poverty, for the vulnerable and down-and-outs is incredible. A love that is clearly seen in the Old Testament, New Testament and Gospel books. A love that is clearly seen in the life and actions of early church. Is it a love that can be seen in our communities?

We can choose differently.

I commend Fintan O’Toole’s call to end child poverty, and all poverty for that matter, in our little island. It’s not by any means an easy task, but a task that the church should be at the very forefront of. If it’s not, then I worry greatly for the church. If we don’t want to actively end poverty, we don’t want to actively follow Jesus.

We must choose differently.

When you happen on someone who’s in trouble or needs help among your people with whom you live in this land that God, your God, is giving you, don’t look the other way pretending you don’t see him. Don’t keep a tight grip on your purse. No. Look at him, open your purse, lend whatever and as much as he needs. Don’t count the cost. Deuteronomy 15:7-8

3 Responses to “We must choose differently”

  1. Fiona

    Choose differently. Yes! It is what God said to Cain after he murdered Abel – rather than be condemned to despair, God said “thou mayest” rule over sin (the concept of “timshel”)… we are given the power to choose. If anyone has read East of Eden, they’ll get excited like me about timshel!

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  2. Adam

    That’s an interesting read Fiona, thanks for sharing it!

    Reply
  3. Michael

    I love East of Eden!!

    ‘I believe that there is one story in the world, and only one…. Humans are caught — in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too—in a net of good and evil… There is no other story. A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean questions: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well — or ill?’ John Steinbeck, East of Eden

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