Friday, September 22, 2006

Another look at prosperity

While wealth is not an indicator of spiritual health, the Bible does have much to say about work ethic and social justice. Proverbs is full of wisdom like this:

“He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows frivolity will have poverty enough!” Proverbs 28:19 (NKJV)

“The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.” Proverbs 29:7 (NIV)

There are many provisions for taking care of the poor in the Bible. A church is not out of line in helping its members and people in the community better their lives. One big issue in many churches is debt. Teaching our members to spend money wisely, live within their means and save for a rainy day will improve their lives and allow them to bless others with their finances.

Some in our churches and community lack the skills to get a decent job. Even the smallest churches can offer training in how to dress for business and conduct yourself in an interview (maybe, even, provide some clothes) and help prepare a resume. Churches with greater means can provide literacy classes, basic math, computer training, etc.

On a larger scale churches can pool resources to provide affordable housing through groups such as Habitat for Humanity or clean up a neighborhood.

On a political level, churches can ensure that government provides equal opportunities and does not allow the disadvantaged to be exploited.

“Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:9 (NIV)

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