A recent report carried out by the Children’s Commissioner, Russell Wills, has found that 1 in 4 children live in poverty in NZ, 1 in 6 struggle to afford the basic necessities of health and clothing. 51% of these children are from sole parent homes and 60% are from beneficiary families. I have also noticed the growing number of people begging on our streets, a phenomenon we have never seen until recently.
It’s very easy to judge people in these situations by saying that this is the result of bad choices or mismanagement of finance or addictive behaviour, but in many cases none of these things is true. As our country has moved further and further away from its Christian values, people no longer feel a sense of responsibility towards those who are disadvantaged. Those who have plenty have become self-indulgent and think only about using their resources for their own pleasure and comfort. Jesus spoke about this in the story of the beggar and the rich man.
I don’t believe the answer is to simply throw more money at these people. Many of them would use it unwisely. As well off Christians, I wonder if we prayed and asked God to show us what we could do to make a difference in these people’s lives. We might be surprised at what God shows us. In history it has been mostly Christian people who have led the way to improve people’s circumstances. Just a suggestion: Christians against poverty [CAP] need coaches to train in leading people out of debt and poverty. [Training day Sat 15 August in Hamilton] Why not talk to them. Phone 0508 422769
Love the Lord your God…and your neighbour as yourself. What a challenge!!!

Geoff Follas