Thu | Dec 14, 2017

Steve Lyston | Reducing poverty through giving

Published:Monday | November 27, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Lyston
Enamay Waunliss (right), administrator of the Open Hart Charitable Mission in Montego Bay, St James, helps to put a smile on this homeless woman’s face during a feeding initiative. According to Steve Lyston, when God gives us wealth, favour and grace, it is so that we can extend our hands to others.
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Reducing poverty is the role of each person within society. It first starts at the individual level. Then the civic organisations and the Church each have their roles to play. The role of government is to create an environment - putting laws and welfare structures in place - to facilitate or encourage assisting the poor and vulnerable.

The number one reason for the perpetuation of poverty is that, as a people, we no longer give. There are certain blessings that can only come through giving. Being poor is not an excuse to not give (Luke 21: 1-4 and Mark 12: 41-44). The Lord speaks about the widow's mite.

Giving reveals the state of our hearts and the level of our love, mercy and compassion. If every individual practises giving, poverty and crime would be reduced. It is interesting that oftentimes, the poor are more inclined to giving. So when God gives us wealth, favour and grace, it is so that we can extend our hands to others. There are people who have a great deal of goods, clothes, and food in abundance, while their neighbours are going to bed without food, clothing or even medication.

Jesus drew attention to the fact that the widow gave even in her state of poverty. A mite then was the smallest and lowest-value coin. So it was not the value of the coin that mattered, it was the sacrifice and the level of commitment to giving that was important to the Lord. It is imperative to note that we are not to give and then call attention to the fact that we gave. We must teach our children from an early age how to give. Psalm 41 reminds us that God will even heal you or raise you up from your sick bed as a result of your giving. People have even been resurrected from the dead as a result of their giving.

 

GOD'S WELFARE

 

The law of gleaning (Leviticus 23: 22) was God's welfare programme for those who did not own land and found themselves on hard times. They, according to the law, could sow the corner of the fields, and gather grain which they would then uses for food. Even our farmers and business people no longer practice giving from their harvest or their business profits. This is the reason why our farmers and businessmen are feeling the heat.

There are many within our nation also that will be spending millions in travelling expenses, despite the fact that there are so many forms of technology today that can allow them to host meetings online or engage in conference sessions. The money saved from travelling could be used to help the poor.

In order to reduce poverty, executive-level staff and politicians can donate a part of their salary to the poor, cutting down on their large entertainment packages.

Leviticus 19:10 reminds us that caring for the poor is a mandate from God - that includes strangers and aliens. Everybody must care for the poor! There are major organisations that make huge profits while people are sleeping right on their doorsteps without basic necessities. Banks have homes rotting away while people are sleeping on the streets. People have homes with several rooms they are not using, but find it hard to board a student.

Giving breaks famine

The number one criteria for breaking barrenness, famine and poverty is giving. In order to escape the oppressive systems of international lenders and to free the nation from further recurring interest, giving is the only way out. There are things also that those who are wealthy may need, that cannot be had or easily acquired by natural means, but can be received as they give.

Giving is the only thing that goes into your future, creates a harvest and shows us that we have conquered greed. When we give to the poor we lend to the Lord. So God promised that He would repay and give back to us with interest. God even outlined that people should not steal, but work to give to the poor (Ephesians 4:28). Even when we are putting on dinners and functions, we are required to give to those who cannot return the favour (Luke 14: 12-14).

God will judge nations with regard to giving, as giving is the only way out in this era. Many times we will pray without getting. This is as a result of our lack of giving. So it is time for us to start giving - poor or rich - regardless of your circumstances, and we will begin to see change and the reduction of poverty.

- Steve Lyston is a biblical economics consultant and author of several books, including 'End Time Finance' and 'The New Millionaire'.