Alleviating Poverty through
Biblically Based Business

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Be Different!

So how do we want to be different? 

I guess first and foremost we want to be different in a way which makes a difference!  We want our ‘stand’ we make to mean something.  We want our actions to change the status-quo, to do something to right the wrongs which we can see in the World.  We want to feel that we really have been part of something which makes an impact.  We want to be part of a lasting transformation. 

But to make a real difference, to make a sustainable difference at the grass roots level, we need to address this all-pervading apathy which surrounds and insulates us, and insidiously affects us all; we need to challenge the belief that ‘we can’t do anything about it’ which immobilises us; and we need to address the distance which enables us to conveniently forget the real issues and ‘get on with our lives’.  And distance is the big problem.  Distance somehow turns the person next door into a statistic; distance somehow takes unbelievably large numbers and makes them just a series of noughts; distance somehow takes tragedy and turns it into a by-line; distance somehow takes you and me and turns us into less than spectators, less than observers, less even than disinterested. 

Our challenge, if we really want to make a difference, is to address this problem of distance – to reach across the divide ourselves, and to pull the issues closer.  To begin to create a situation where we take personal responsibility for what is happening (and what is not happening) and through that to create a vivid picture in which people cannot help but engage.  Contrary to the sentiments expressed in Bette Midler’s song, God is not watching us ‘from a distance’, He is ‘up close and personal’.  And we see the first step in addressing the problem of distance as getting personally involved.  Not an envelope to a charity, not a prayer for an anonymous people, not a letter to your MP, but a personal engagement with real people, in a real situation, with real desperation. 

“But how can we do that?” is an obvious and reasonable response – and, until recently, we would have joined you in it.  But we now realise that for as long as we don’t get personally involved, we literally forget the issue.  For a huge proportion of our daily/weekly/monthly lives, we frankly cast little of our mind on the issue, and therefore we also cast little of our time, our ideas, or our resources in that direction either. 

Jesus told us that we saw him hungry, and did not feed him, when we saw and did not feed ‘the least of these’ (Matthew 25:44).  He was unequivocal.  And even though there is little coverage of the real issues (as we fill our screens with ‘Big Brother’ and ‘Match of the Day’ etc.) we have seen the hungry, and we need to do something about them.  And ‘ticking the box’ with a charitable contribution may well not be enough.  The thing is that, in this ‘Global World’, Lazarus is now very clearly at our gate (Luke 16:20) and all the advice we would have given the ‘Rich Man’ we need to take ourselves.  We at least have the benefit of hearing what the Rich Man asked Lazarus to be allowed to do, and that may be the only warning we get.

We need to do something directly and personally, and we have just that thing in mind.


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