The Oxford Poverty Initiative has a new way to decide who is poor. Their research shows far more poor people exist than we once thought. They identify 10 needs that make people poor: lack of water, nutrition, mortality, health, years of schooling, school attendance, fuel for cooking, sanitation, electricity, and having a floor. These indices show that 1.6 billion people live in poverty. Over 50% live in South Asia, and 30% live in mostly rural areas of Africa. Knowing that God cares—and wants us to care—for the poor is why groups like World Vision, Feed the Children, and the Hunger Project exist. Still, God wants us to know that a day is coming when injustice associated with poverty will be rectified. All through the Bible, God expresses His concern for the poor. One place is in Luke chapter 4 where Jesus describes His mission: “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for He has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD’S favor has come.” We know Jesus’ mission has a spiritual dimension, yet we must not ignore God’s concern for those who are materially and physically impoverished. Jesus wants His people to show the rest of the world how to respond to poverty.
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