Approximately 47 million Americans earn an annual income that falls below the poverty line. Dwelling at fifteen percent of the population, poverty is much too high in America, but it has not gone unnoticed. The government has made multiple attempts to minimize poverty, spending nearly a sixth of its federal spending on anti-poverty programs. It has raised the minimum wage, provided tax credits, and offered federal housing, but nothing seems to do the trick.
Poverty is still increasing at nearly two percent each year. There are currently thousands of nonprofit organizations in the United States that are directed towards helping those suffering in poverty.
Alas, these nonprofit organizations and the United States’ government cannot solve the epidemic of poverty alone, which should serve as a call for action to Christians and communities nationwide. Just as Christ provided food and shelter for the impoverished, we as Christians should follow in His footsteps and love our communities well.
Every day, there are a dozen homeless people waving signs on the side of any given street, but how often do you think to help them? Most often, you attempt to avoid eye contact and continue on your way, because you know that hundreds of cars will pass. Surely one will lend a hand. So, you go about your day without a worry, because it’s not your fault they are in that situation.
But what would you do if you knew one of these people? Most likely, you would instantly offer any help to get them back on their way. You know that for them, their risk will be greatly increased on the streets. You would show much more compassion for them, because you wouldn’t want them on the streets. Yet you assume that the stranger is going to be taken care of by someone else. Since Christians have been called to a life of service, we need to be the “someone else” that reaches out and helps the poor.
As Christians, it should be our joy to serve our community. In downtown Chattanooga alone, hundreds of homeless people are sitting on a curb or waving a sign, pleading for attention. They are desolate, hungry, and need help. Here, the Church of Christ can easily step up and be the hands and feet of Jesus to these people.
There is not a specific day that Covenant College should reach out; there is not a specific moment that we should gather and love on our city. Rather, don’t wait for anyone else, but go out and find a way to become involved. By donating food, services, or money to a non-profit organization, you can alleviate the effects of poverty in your community.
Currently, Covenant is partnering with Cans Across the Conference to share food with others; perhaps you can donate a few cans. The opportunities are endless, and it is well time for Christians to come alongside the Church, government, and non-profit organizations and share God’s love within our cities.