This is as the title suggests the third part of my God vs Poverty series.
In the last part of God vs Poverty, I talked about the importance of giving aid to the poor. I am critical to the “trade instead of aid” idea expressed by people like Dambisa Moyo (who thinks that all aid to Africa should be stopped in five years) simply since it is irresponsible, harmful and not very smart. Trade is not the magical solution to poverty reduction, since many companies only have their own profit in mind. In contrast, aid agencies have a genuine goal to help the poor.
Still, trade is important. In fact, it’s necessary for poverty reduction. Acts 20:33-35 says:
“I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
In other words, if we are able to work but aren’t doing it, we are using resources that could have been given to the poor. As long as we are healthy and there are job oppurtinities, we should work. But we must remember that all jobs aren’t good jobs!
“[they] must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.” (Eph 4:28)
Do something useful! I once got a question: “Should I work for a company that uses sweatshops, earn a lot of money and be able to give a lot of aid; or should I work for Fairtrade, where I do good stuff for the poor in my work but won’tbe able to give so much in aid?” I answered “Work for Fairtrade”. Why should we earn a lot of money to clean up the mess we’ve created? Do something useful with your hands, let your job be beneficial for the poor.
This may result in changing your job. Some jobs are directly harmful, such as working for oil companies or weapon producers. Others are simply unnecessary, like beauty products. Others are beneficial for people but only reach the rich. Sekk the guidance of the Holy Spirit, find a good job, serve the poor through it and then give a lot of your wage to aid.
Here are the other parts of God vs Poverty:
- Growth vs Entitlements: Impact of PDS on Poverty Reduction (thesupermanreturns.wordpress.com)
- Blaming the Poor for Poverty (southweb.org)
- Trinitarian Center (franciscanflowers.wordpress.com)
- The Lasting Impacts of Poverty on the Brain (cleanheat.wordpress.com)