The prophet Isaiah challenged the people of his time that God was more interested in their works of love for the poor and needy than he was in their worship (see Isaiah 58). This is a message strongly echoed by other prophets (see Amos 5:21-24). Jesus reinforced this strongly in the parable of the sheep and the goats where he paints a picture of the nations being divided not by doctrine, personal ethics, or religious activities but by how they had treated the poor and needy (Matthew 25:31-46).
Poverty is not a 'left-wing' political issue; it is a Christian issue.
Just under half of the world's population (2.8 billion) lives on US $2 a day or less. It is hard to imagine that kind of poverty (click here for a description of what that would be like). Recently, Australia was ranked as the most prosperous nation in the world. We are the affluent minority.
How should we then live?
1. Become more aware of the issues. Why not order World Vision's latest book, World Poverty for Dummies - it's only $25.
2. Reflect on our own values and lifestyle. Spend less and give more away.
3. Get involved. There is so much that can be done.
Worship and justice must go hand in hand. Together we can really make a difference, one step at a time.