God’s love for the poor (and the rich!) - John Van Sloten

March 02, 2008

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Media @ New Hope CalgaryIn this message we’re going to hear and think about Jesus’ parable of the rich fool. How are we called to steward our wealth?

“Speaking to the people, he went on, "Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot."
Then he told them this story: "The farm of a certain rich man produced a terrific crop. He talked to himself: 'What can I do? My barn isn't big enough for this harvest.' Then he said, 'Here's what I'll do: I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I'll gather in all my grain and goods, and I'll say to myself, Self, you've done well! You've got it made and can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life!'
"Just then God showed up and said, 'Fool! Tonight you die. And your barnful of goods—who gets it?'
"That's what happens when you fill your barn with Self and not with God."
He continued this subject with his disciples. "Don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or if the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your inner life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the ravens, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, carefree in the care of God. And you count far more.”
The Gospel of Luke 12:15-24, MSG, quoting Jesus, Founder of Christianity

A Nobel effort to share the wealth...
After the Bangladesh famine of 1974 Muhammad Yunus decided that it was necessary to venture out of his ivory tower and see how his knowledge of economics could help the poor. His first venture was helping farmers, not unlike the farmer in our story. Here’s what he writes:
The first years’ efforts ended in success. The fields had been full of emerald green standing rice. Nothing is as beautiful as farmers harvesting their rice. The site warmed my heart.
But I still had misgivings. The success of our program had highlighted a problem I had not focused on before. Once the rice was harvested labour was required to separate the rice from the dry straw. This mindless , boring work was offered to the cheapest day labourers: destitute women who would otherwise be reduced to begging. For hours on end these poor women would separate the rice with their feet, holding themselves upright gripping the tiny ledges on the wall in front of them. All day, some twenty-five to thirty women would perform this continuous twisting motion, wrapping the rice straws around their feet to separate the paddy. In the early morning they would race to work , competing with each for the most comfortable position against the wall. What a terrible life – to earn forty cents investing the weight of your body and the tiresome motion of your bare feet for ten hours a day! These women, many of them widowed, divorced, or abandoned with children to feed, were too poor even to be sharecroppers. They were landless and asset less without any hope. They were the poorest of the poor. It was clear to me that the wealthier farmer, the more he earned form the program, and the poorer the worker, the smaller was her share. “Why should we happy with your program” one woman said to me. “After a few weeks of threshing we are out of work, and we have nothing to show for ourselves.” She was right. For the same work, a women could earn at least four times as much if she had the financial resources to buy the rice paddy and process it herself.
Muhammad Yunus, Banker to the Poor, Pg 40
Founder of the Grameen Bank

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grow,Muhammad Yunus,Luke 12:15-24,politics,parable

Length: 32:32     Rating: GA