Discussing
New American Dream: Downsize to Help the Poor

Jerod Clark

Adam Shields
February 17, 2010

I don't think the question is can we, but would we. We all have the power to sell our possessions and help the poor. But almost no one does. Shaun Groves, the musician did. He sold his house, moved to a much smaller one and started working as a musician for Compassion, with a salary. Now he only tours to promote compassion. <br><br>According to Richard Stears, president of World Vision, the average Christian only gives about 2 percent of their income to any type of religious or charitable organization. And of that 2 percent only about 2 percent goes to international development (or about 0.04% of the average Christian's income.)<br><br>The difference between what Christians in the US give and what they would give if they tithed would be enough to provide everyone in the world with safe drinking water in just one year. (Actually it is enough money, it would take more than a year to actually build the wells).

Chelsey
February 17, 2010

I'm preaching on Simplicity this week and the challenge to give more away. I especially like the little brother's comment that their new house gave them "more human interaction."<br><br>Thanks for the story that I can share!

Frank3
February 17, 2010

Just about anyone could find someone somewhere that is living comfortably off 20% less than they are, if they looked hard enough. Then once they got themselves to that point, they could do it again. Etc. It takes a LOT of big drops for most people until they get to a point where it would be physically or mentally unwise to further cut. But people aren't generally willing to change entire lifestyles. For me to cut 20% of my budget, for example, isn't going to take significant cuts in entertainment, dining out, and other "non-essentials." Those already came with a baby :-) It would take moving. And suddenly I'm not so willing any more. Even though as I said, I guarantee I could find someone with 80% of my mortgage/taxes/etc living just fine.

James
February 19, 2010

My question is this: At what point to we get past "Boy, that's a great thing to do" and get to the truth, which is that <i>this is what God demands of anyone with wealth</i>? When do we stop viewing this as <i>charity</i> - something optional - and start viewing it as <i>justice</i>, which is an obligation?<br><br>In other words - when are we going to realize that God demands just this kind of action from each and every American Christian who can live on less than their means?<br><br>When are churches going to start prophetically calling out their members and telling them that God demands they move into a smaller house, drive a more efficient car, and forego that flat-screen TV in favor of living a modest lifestyle and giving the excess to the poor?<br><br>If American Christians were doing our jobs, there wouldn't be a global poverty problem. There wouldn't be global injustice in education, in food, in health care. We wouldn't need to talk about health care reform in this country, or ignore the pandemics of homelessness and poverty that exist right in our backyards. If American Christians were doing their jobs - and if American Christian leaders were actually <i>leading</i> - these problems would be <i>solved</i> by the wealth and ingenuity of American Christians acting self-sacrificially instead of hoarding and spending selfishly.

Sistersharonblcl
February 20, 2010

WOW!!!! this here inspires me so much this is truly touching they are really a unselfish family they went above and beyond of the most courageous thing iv'e heard of yet. In these days in time cause we as a people are running around just thinking about one self Oh!!!! how they love jesus because he cares for them and they care about others this is how god want us to love one another they are outstanding and i know that my god is going to reward them greatly and openly. I'm truly graceful that i had the chance to expess my opinion on this post. god bless them and keep them under his grace amen.

Bill
January 5, 2011

@James - You need to read your Bible a little more carefully. First, Jesus said "the poor you will always have with you" so we will never eradicate poverty. Second, no where does God demand us to downsize and give it away to the poor. Our "jobs" as Christians is to make disciples of people who will worship God in spirit and in Truth... not give money to all.

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