Daily Devotional

For Jan 28, 2015 ← Return

Consider The Poor

Average reading time is about 2 minutes
AN AMAZING FACT:  According to World Bank statistics, the poorest country in the world is the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with an annual GDP per capita of only $422.

There are different ways to measure the poverty of a country. Calculations made by various organizations consider purchasing power, cost of living, inflation rates, and standard of living. But whether you look at the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, or Central Intelligence Agency figures, the DRC still comes out rock bottom. (Not to be confused with the Republic of Congo, the DRC was known as Zaire until 1997.)

In this impoverished country of 71 million people, where French is the official language, the Second Congo War, which began in 1998, has devastated the country. It’s a confrontation involving seven foreign armies and has been noted as the deadliest conflict in the world since World War II, killing 5.4 million people. I don’t even want to describe the violation of human rights that takes place there, particularly among women. The United Nations calls the DRC the rape capital of the world.

It’s challenging to think about how to help your poor neighbor, but try to grasp how to help an entire country! Sending money and even shipments of food to starving people in such places is difficult because of corruption. The people who are starving might never see a grain of rice because of fraud and dishonesty. Donors have become wary of dropping dollars into extended hands. In the long run, it is more effective to dig wells and to teach agricultural, business, and reading skills.

Solomon’s proverb this evening begins with what most people think is true for all the wrong reasons: “The poor man is hated even by his own neighbor, but the rich has many friends” (Proverbs 14:20). There are many people who are poor by this world’s standards who have many friends. And many wealthy people have few true friends who are not interested in their money.

Despite the difficulties of poverty in our world, we should never become so hardened that we simply turn away from hurting people. The Christian is not to despise his neighbor, but he is to have mercy on those who are less fortunate. Jesus became poor so that we might become rich. Let’s do the same in whatever way God calls us to love the poor.

Additional reading: Proverbs 14:20–35

The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends. He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.
- Proverbs 14:20-21

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