“The fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah is precious to Seventh-day Adventists. The call is to restore and “to loose the bands of wickedness … to deal thy bread to the hungry … bring the poor that are cast out to thy house … when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him” (verses 6, 7). So as repairers of the breach, we are to restore and care for the poor. If we carry out the principles of the law of God in acts of mercy and love, we will represent the character of God to the world.
In effecting Christ’s ministry today, we must do as He did, and not only preach the gospel to the poor, but heal the sick, feed the hungry, and raise the downcast (see Luke 4:18, 19; Matt. 14:14). But verse 16 explains that it was so that “they need not go away.” Christ’s own example is determinative for His followers.”
Poverty is present in every society. Poverty robs human beings of their most basic rights. It keeps people hungry; it deprives them of medical care, clean water, an education, the opportunity to work, and often results in a sense of powerlessness, hopelessness, and inequality. Every day, more than 24,000 children die due to preventable conditions created by poverty.
Seventh-day Adventists believe that actions to reduce poverty and its attendant injustices are an important part of Christian social responsibility. The Bible clearly reveals God’s special interest in the poor and His expectations as to how His followers should respond to those who are unable to care for themselves. All human beings bear the image of God and are the recipients of God’s blessing (Luke 6:20). In working with the poor we follow the example and teaching of Jesus (Matthew 25:35, 36). As a spiritual community Seventh-day Adventists advocate justice for the poor and “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves” (Proverbs 31:8 NIV) and against those who “deprive the poor of their rights” (Isaiah 10:2 NIV). We participate with God who “secures justice for the poor” (Psalm 140:12 NIV).
Seventh-day Adventists join the global community in supporting the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals for reducing poverty by at least 50 percent by 2015. In furtherance of this, Seventh-day Adventists partner with civil society, governments and others, working together locally and globally to participate in God’s work of establishing enduring justice in a broken world.
Dr Paul Charles
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