Empathising with the Poor

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Sermon - 15 September 2013
by Bruce McCallum

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Empathising with the Poor

  1. 1. Where in the income distribution are you? Percentile in the income distribution Monthly income per person in the household (2012 prices) 10 (decile 1) R 281 20 (decile 2) R 419 30 (decile 3) R 599 40 (decile 4) R 793 50 (decile 5) R 1 066 60 (decile 6) R 1 443 70 (decile 7) R 2 098 80 (decile 8) R 3 351 90 (decile 9) R 6 693 95 (decile 10) R 9 613 97 (decile 10) R 13 579 98 (decile 10) R 17 021 99 (decile 10) R 25 360 Source: NIDS, wave 3, September 2013
  2. 2. Percentage of people living below the poverty line Population percentage % of people spending < R502 per capita p.m. in 2008 % of people spending < R924 per capita p.m. in 2008 African 79.3% 62.8% 79.7% Coloured 8.9% 31.7% 52.7% Asian/Indian 2.6% 16.7% 21.5% White 9.2% 2.5% 3.4% Overall 100% 53.3% 68.8%
  3. 3. Key Differences between Poor and Non-Poor Households Poor Non – poor Overall Mean Household Size 4.8 2.9 3.9 Mean Household Age 21.9 30.1 26.2 Household Head Mean Education 6.0 9.3 8.2 Male Headed Household 42.2% 68.8% 59.9% Unemployment Rate 53.6% 19.7% 31.1%
  4. 4. Where do you get your income from? Source: NIDS discussion document no. 5, 2009
  5. 5. What do you spend your income on? Source: NIDS discussion document no. 5, 2009
  6. 6. Education is really important Source: NIDS discussion document no. 5, 2009
  7. 7. For more information, visit www.nids.uct.ac.za Source: NIDS discussion document no. 5, 2009
  8. 8. "Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" 37 The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."
  9. 9. 1. Compassion & mercy to the poor are not optional. James 2:13-17 (NIV) 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment! 14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
  10. 10. 1 John 3:17 (NIV) 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?
  11. 11. 2. Mercy & Compassion for the needy is not new --- it goes all the way back to Eden! Genesis 3:21 (NIV) 21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
  12. 12. 3. Job knew God required the providing of food, shelter and clothing to the needy Job 29:16 (NIV) 16 I was a father to the needy; I took up the case of the stranger.
  13. 13. 4. Law of Moses: God was building a believing community where social righteousness was required as much as personal righteousness and morality.
  14. 14. 5. To ignore the needs of a poor man is a sin against the Lord. Proverbs 14:31 (NIV) 31 He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. Proverbs 19:17 (NIV) 17 He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done.
  15. 15. 6. A social conscience is the sign of true faith. Matthew 25:31-46 (NIV)
  16. 16. 7. God is angry when we have one face for him and another face for the needy Isaiah 1:10-17 (NIV) . 15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood; 16 wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, 17 learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.
  17. 17. 8. Mercy to the poor is an evidence of true heart commitment to God Amos 5:21-24 (NIV) 21 "I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. 22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. 23 Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. 24 But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!
  18. 18. 9. Prophets predicted that when the Messiah came he would be characterised by mercy to the poor Isaiah 11:1-4 (NIV) 1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him-- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord-- 3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. …
  19. 19. Isaiah 61:1-2 (NIV) 1 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,
  20. 20. 10. Jesus clearly associates with a gospel to the poor Matthew 11:1-6 (NIV) 1 After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee. 2 When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?" 4 Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 6 Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me."
  21. 21. 11. Mary and Joseph literally associated Jesus with the poor at His circumcision Luke 2:24 (NIV) 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: "a pair of doves or two young pigeons." Leviticus 12:8 (NIV) 8 If she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean.'"
  22. 22. 12. Jesus lived with and ate and associated with the lepers and outcasts – the lowest classes of society.
  23. 23. 13. Look how the early church dealt with the issue of the poor
  24. 24. What are we to do? 1. Poor will always be with us (Matt 26:11) 2. Think about poverty from the perspective of the Kingdom of God 3. Keep an open heart towards the poor!

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