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Lenten Lesson – Poverty

“For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.”

1 Corinthians 3:9 NIV
Lenten Lesson - Poverty

Droughts, famines, earthquakes, terrorism, poverty, and war! Words like these arouse dread as we ponder these worldly problems. And, the nightly news brings images of disasters and devastation into our homes. The troubles of this world appear overwhelming at times. Sometimes, I feel lost at the enormity of each situation. How can I make a difference? Can I stop any of these from happening? I often want to give up in frustration since I cannot make the world better. It is easier to do nothing since I cannot fix it all.

World Problems

The world’s problems, like poverty, appear enormous, so we must learn to focus on the enormity of our God. God can use each one of us to help. And, over time, all of us working together in the name of Jesus will change the world for the better. An old African saying illustrates this very well, “Little and little, fills the measure.” It all starts with each of us helping a little bit at a time. Additionally, Mother Teresa said it well, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” 

The good news is that God does not call us to change the world alone. Instead, He calls us to join Him in the battle to change the world. In 1 Corinthians 3:9, we learn that we are co-workers with Christ. So our work begins when we look at the things that are important to God. In today’s message, I want to look at poverty in our world.

The Problem of Poverty

Almost half the world — over 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.

Do you know what absolute poverty looks like in our world today? United Nations describes poverty in these terms: “Fundamentally, poverty is the inability of having choices and opportunities, a violation of human dignity. It means a lack of basic capacity to participate effectively in society. And, It means not having enough to feed and clothe a family, not having a school or clinic to go to, not having the land to grow one’s food or a job to earn one’s living, not having access to credit. Additionally, It means insecurity, powerlessness, and exclusion of individuals, households, and communities. And, it means susceptibility to violence, and it often implies living in marginal or fragile environments, without access to clean water or sanitation.” Poverty exists in every country of the world, but many do not see it even when it is in plain sight.

Poverty in the Bible

The Bible mentions poverty over 300 times throughout the Old and New Testaments. And, something noted that often means that the poor are near and dear to our Savior’s heart. James 2:5 (NIV) shows us, “Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?” Also, when I spend time among the poor, I am amazed at how rich they are in their faith. Unfortunately, our possessions sometimes get in the way of our faith, or at least it blinds us to seeing poverty as God sees it. 

Help Others this Lent

Those in poverty are close to God’s heart in the Bible. Jesus was born into poverty and gave up his heavenly riches when he came down to earth. Also, the Bible tells us that the poor are “blessed” and teaches us to value integrity over riches. God has not forgotten the poor and instead calls all believers to join in his restorative work to bring hope and opportunity to them.

We Can Make a Difference

What are we doing to help end poverty? The message of the Bible is clear on this subject. We are all called to help the poor. Luke 3:11 (NIV) states, “And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” Matthew 5:42 (NIV) implores us, “Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.” And, Lent is a great time to look at ways to help others especially those living in poverty. Give. Help. Donate. Share. Do something to help those in need locally or halfway around the world. God is calling all of us to make a difference today.

Luke 10:2 (NIV) says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” Therefore, God needs us to join Him as He helps those in need worldwide.


Pray to end poverty

Great King, help us cultivate the compassionate heart and attitude you require toward children and families in need. Remind us to regularly share our bounty with people who have much less. Lead us in the ways to help others in their time of need. Lord Jesus, help us follow you to the edges of society, where people are lonely, suffering, and in great need. Let us give freely with an appreciation for all you’ve provided to us at no charge.

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. JD Wininger

    Well said author. We need to focus more on the Word than the world in these perilous times. One way we can do that is simply carrying out the many charges Christ gave to us, and demonstrated through His life. Let us be more God’s “hands and feet” than Satan’s plaything, but rising above the din of this world to proclaim Jesus in our lives.

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      Thank you JD. I pray that more people will turn to God during this dark times. Only God can calm the fears that come from watching the world.

  2. Jessica Brodie

    This is so good. Poverty is an ongoing problem, and we are ALWAYS called to have a heart for those in need. We must share what we have so all can live and so that compassion and kindness overflows.

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      Thanks Jessica. It can be so easy to overlook those in need. We are called to help others.

  3. Ava Pennington

    The “little by little” proverb reminds me of the story of the boy on the beach rescuing starfish one at a time. When told he could never make a difference given the hundreds/thousands of starfish washed up on the beach, But the boy picked up a starfish, tossed it in the ocean, and answered, “I made a difference for that one.”

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      I love that story too. The problems of our world are enormous but with God we can make a difference for one.

  4. Those pressing on my heart this Lenten season are the Ukrainian people who have lost practically everything they own and everything they need. Samaritan’s Purse is active there in Ukraine, and so I will probably donate there. Every little bit helps, like you said so well, Yvonne.

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      They have been on my heart as well. So much need in our world. Thanks Melinda and God bless

  5. Melissa McLaughlin

    Thank you, Yvonne, for bringing our eyes back to the greatness of our God and the greatness of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, even making Himself poor to bring us salvation. Clearly, God’s call is to help the poor. May we never grow weary or too overwhelmed to do the small part God is asking of us. Lord, renew our hearts to keep on giving.

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      Amen Melissa. It is so easy to get tired and overwhelmed by it all.

  6. karentfriday

    Yvonne, grateful for this reminder. This is not an easy article to write or to read, but oh so necessary in the life of believers. Why? Because it’s biblical. The definition of poverty was such an eyeopening one. And the poor are ever near to God’s heart. That’s why He mentions helping the poor over and over again in Scripture. It’s becoming Jesus with skin.

    1. Yvonne Morgan

      It is how we become Jesus with skin. We forgot the Bible’s calls us to live a life of helping others. Thank Karen

  7. Melissa G. Henderson

    Amen. We are called by God to help those in need. I pray we don’t overlook any opportunities to be a blessing to others.

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