Talking Points: Poverty

Poverty: The Poor

What is it?

To talk about poverty we have to talk about the difference between “wants” and “needs.”  A “want” is something that would make life better or more enjoyable. What are some things you want right now?  

A “need” is something that is necessary for life: food, clothing, shelter, a way to get to work and school, relationships, family… what are some things you need?

So when we discuss poverty, we aren’t just talking about not having things that we want, although that is a component, we are talking about people who don’t have what they need.

There are two types of poverty. Absolute Poverty means that you don’t have enough money to meet your basic needs –food, water, shelter. Relative Poverty means that in the country you live in, you don’t have enough money to meet all your needs.

What does that mean?

4.3 billion people live on less than $5 a day, that’s 59% of the world’s population that doesn’t have enough money to meet their basic needs. The world’s poorest people live on less than $1.25 a day, and right now there are 1,200,000 living below that standard.

In the US, people need a minimum of $5 a day to spend on food. In the US 1 in 5 people don’t have access to enough food.  

Through working with your family to provide food for kids every month, you are helping the poor.  This is a great way to start making a difference in people's lives. Our prayer is that as you and your family feed kids in other nations and talk about important things, that the poor will have a special place in your heart like they do in God’s heart and you will do more and more to help the poor.



What does the Bible say about it?



There are a lot of Bible Verses that talk about poverty and the poor:

“I have seen the violence done to the helpless and I have heard the groans of the poor, now I will rise up to rescue them as they have longed for me to.” Psalms 12:5

“Blessed are those who are generous because they feed the poor.” Prov 22:9

“Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to poverty will be cursed.” Prov 28:27

“John replied, ‘if you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.” Luke 3:11

“They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”

2 Corinthians 9:9


So much of Jesus’ earthly ministry was built around healing the sick and bringing good news to the poor (Luke 7:22) When you and I choose to bring good news to the poor in either word or deed we join in the ministry of Jesus and we get to know more about the heart of God.  In years of working with the poor, I have received far more than I have given because I’ve gotten to see the heart of God.



We have what we need, maybe not what all we want, but our needs are provided for.  This means we can freely open our hands to give and let God’s blessings flow to others too.  



“7-9 When you happen on someone who’s in trouble or needs help among your people with whom you live in this land that God, your God, is giving you, don’t look the other way pretending you don’t see him. Don’t keep a tight grip on your purse. No. Look at him, open your purse, lend whatever and as much as he needs. Don’t count the cost. Don’t listen to that selfish voice saying, “It’s almost the seventh year, the year of All-Debts-Are-Canceled,” and turn aside and leave your needy neighbor in the lurch, refusing to help him. He’ll call God’s attention to you and your blatant sin.


10-11 Give freely and spontaneously. Don’t have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God, your God’s, blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures. There are always going to be poor and needy people among you. So I command you: Always be generous, open purse and hands, give to your neighbors in trouble, your poor and hurting neighbors.”

Deuteronomy 15:7-11 The Message


Take a minute to pray.  Ask the Lord to give you his heart for the poor, ask Him to give you eyes to see the poor around you.  Ask the Lord to show you ways that you can freely give to those around you.