Dream word – OPPORTUNITY
“They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.” NKJV
The fat face of poverty and the diet pill of practical possibility
The Institute for Fiscal Studies, a research institute which exists to provide top quality economic analysis independent of government, political party or any other vested interest, produced a report in 2008 which showed how household income had substantially changed in the United Kingdom since 1961, indicating, both an ever widening gap between the rich and the poor and the binding and belittling, inescapable trap, that the ever rising underclass of society will find it impossible to climb out of. Indeed, a 2008 survey of teenagers in Scotland indicated that their top two concerns when leaving school were poverty and homelessness! Oh and before some of my dearest far right friends say anything, the world where you could make it by working hard, doing without and saving your pennies, ceased to exist a long, long time ago. Clarification of this sad state of affairs also comes from Mark Easton, home editor of the BBC, who remarked that: “Britain has the unenviable reputation for having the worst social mobility of any industrialised nation. What is more, the chances of a British youngster climbing out of hardship are said to be lower today than they were fifty years ago.”
It was Quaker and Christian Activist, Seebohm Rowntree, who in the 1950’s carried out many social studies, chiefly in his home town of York, where he took the materials received by those in the poor house and defined them as a “basket of basic goods”. Anyone who did not have the means to procure for himself this said basket was considered to be in poverty. In 2008, “poverty” in the United Kingdom was defined as anyone on an income of less than 60% of the national average wage. Then, that figure stood at 20% of people and it was rising!
Truly then, the poor shall always be with us. However, this does not mean we should live with that situation! Christians such as Rowntree and Cadbury, people of wealth, power, vision and chocolate, (thank you Jesus!) made sure that the Gospel impacted and changed society for the better. We Christians, even we Christians of end time apocalyptic fervour, should nevertheless, also be doing the same. We dare not sacrifice our duty to the poor on the grounds of Christ’s imminent return.
In 2008, it was being suggested that the first two steps on the ladder of escaping the poverty pit, were good education and the good offices of parents. Both are good and both are necessary, however, even now, I think the rungs are rotten. Towards the end of the twentieth century, the murder of the family and all its values, coupled, at the beginning of the twenty first century with the value stripping of many of its assets, has most substantially seen to that dreadful decay, of that first parental rung! As for education, well, there are not too many poverty stricken households that want to further enslave their children to massive student debt and in any event, good grades, good degrees and professional qualifications are ten a penny nowadays and the problem of poverty is still high and is still rising.
It may have been the first and only nationally recognised indicator of poverty, but nevertheless, Rowntree’s ration basket failed somewhat in providing correct analyses of the situation in that it did not account for key factors such as, knowledge of what was nutritious food, where to find it, and where to find it at the best prices. Add to this, the ability to go and get it and bring it home and you are presented by gaunt and sickly looking, dirty faced Victorian children. Nowadays of course, poverty has a fat face, for the bad nutrition picture of today, is one of pimply-faced McDonald’s obesity. Yes nowadays, poverty has often a fat face. Today, we need a different and more holistic measure for poverty and with that, a far better possibility of escape.
Like it or not, problems and opportunities are global in both context and influence. However, such global opportunity must be linked to and dealt with, via a national vision and in turn; such national vision must be coupled with both local investment and made opportunity. Made opportunity, is of course very simply, practical possibility and this my friends, is the best diet pill to deal with fat poverty. I believe that we Christians need to both manufacture and administer this pill, for if this rising problem of fat poverty is not dealt with, then once the opiates of entertainment in all its many and varied forms wears off, then maybe we shall see a rise in the well worn “solution” of revolution and war, even on our own shores, to clear the decks once more.
I am an end time Christian. I am preparing for the return of King Jesus. So, spiritually emotionally and physically, to my society and this generation, I am seeking to provide the pill of the possibility of escape from poverty, yes poverty, in all its malnourished, and bestial belittling forms. Make no mistake about it, it is this local pill of possibility, of made opportunity, that shall drive national vision and so enable it to lay hold of global opportunity. We Christians are at the root of the solution.
To that end, I believe the local church should be the best place for family and education, the best place where the released and empowered people of hope, can provide the pill of possibility for the poor. We need to make opportunities for growth, on every local level. I believe that the end time generation shall not cower, but in Christ’s name, shall be filled with power and shall overflow and flower with “can do” practical possibility. Tomorrow then, rise up O Church of God! For, mark my words if we shall not be the solution, then we shall be eaten up in the problem.
Listen: “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the labourers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you. Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” James 5:1-8 NKJV.
Pray: Lord we look to You, Lord we long for Your coming, we plan for Your arrival. We do this in hope, we do it in redemptive power, we do it in making opportunity and birthing possibility. So prosper us in this our Lord, in Jesus name we pray, amen!
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