Stop for just a moment and consider this, it means next to nothing to have spent a fortune to send human beings up into outer space to walk on the moon and perform experiments in a space station while right here on the ground such a large number of women, children and the elderly continue fighting hard to survive each day without enough food, a decent job, shelter or a seat at humankind's otherwise enormous table of opportunity.
Clearly, a more substantial and lasting change needs to come: its long overdue, callous and grossly unfair to entertain doing less, and the perilous cost to all of humanity is rapidly mounting.
- Personal habits, choices and character
- Oppression by people taking advantage of the poor
- The myriad of problems encountered if born in a third-world economy
- Discrimination due to age, gender, sexual orientation, the color of your skin, and or faith background
- Exploitation — of the poor by the rich, certainly, but also of natural resources and the environment by those who take the profits and leave behind the mess for others to deal with
- Legal barriers — it was only at the end of the last century that women were legally allowed to sign papers on their own behalf if they were married, or open bank accounts.
- Homelessness. Even apart from all other factors, someone who is precariously housed or not housed at all will find it nearly impossible to get themselves out of poverty. How can you even start to look for a job if you can’t take a daily shower, wash your clothes, sleep soundly because you feel safe, or cook yourself a nourishing meal?
- Natural disasters. And not just in “third world” countries, either.
- Repressive and punitive social welfare programs. If you’ve never been a recipient of social assistance, it’s eye opening to find out just how poorly recipients are treated. Social assistance of any kind is a trap, and every effort you make to better yourself is scrutinized, with the sole aim, not of helping you escape poverty, but of cutting off your benefits. While getting folks off assistance is, of course, the hope of every poverty advocate, cutting someone off of assistance because they’ve found a part time minimum wage job is a little like sending a schoolchild off to work because they can already read. They’re nowhere near ready, and it causes regression back to assistance, or worse.
- Physical, intellectual, or social disabilities.
- Mental health issues. Almost all homeless people, and a very large number of social assistance recipients have either unaddressed or inadequately treated mental health issues. Unless the illnesses are treated, the poor person will almost always remain poor.
From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:48