Monday, January 23, 2012


I’ve read that 53% of the world lives on less than $2 a day. In the USA, poverty is defined as a family of four with an annual income of less than $22,350 or $10,890 for an individual. That works out to be $30 a day for an individual. That is about 15 times what most people in the world are living on. Only 15% of Americans fall below that line. It is no wonder that so much of the world sees us a rich. It also explains why so many people come to America in order to work and send money back home to their families. Imagine if there were a place where you could go and even the lowest paying jobs would earn you $150,000 a year. If you were struggling here, would it not be attractive to leave your family for a while to earn some money to pay off your debts? That is how much of the world looks at us.

But what does it really mean? The thing is, though we are rich, $2 in the USA doesn’t go as far as it does in some parts of the world. In areas where they are living on $2 a day, you can hire a workman to do some work for you for $2, but here no one would come out for $2. A day’s wages is closer to $200.

Just because a man has to live on $2 a day doesn’t mean that he needs our help. Besides which, there is no way for us to bring all people out of poverty by giving them money. I don’t think God ever intended for us to blindly give people money just because they have less than we do. I thought it was funny when I heard about one religion and its requirement for people to give to the poor. A worshipper can go in to pray and do whatever is required of him, then he can walk out of the place of worship and into this place that is selling things he can give to the poor. After making his purchase, he can walk out and there in rows are several beggars. But rather than giving his gift to them, the shop owner tells some number of them (however many he bought for) of the purchase. They move to the back of the line and the next set are ready for someone to give to them. The worshipper goes on his way, feeling good that he has fulfilled the requirements of his religion.

The Bible makes it very clear that if we don’t work we have to right to eat. It also seems that God wants a more personal touch. There is no reason to think that we must help someone we don’t know. If our intention is to help people on the other side of the world, then it would be better to funnel our money through people we do know on that side of the world, so that they can use it to help people over there. And here, it is better to help a Christian friend in need when we know their need isn’t from laziness than it is to just hand people money and hope they put it to good use. It is better to pay someone to help us with something than it is to just hand them money with no expectation that they will do anything in return.