The topic of poverty is frequently brought up in the church, but with no clear understanding of how to approach it. In the church I grew up in there never was a theology of poverty taught, let alone discussed.
Right from the beginning of Awaiting A Savior, Aaron wastes no time and gets into the bible. One thing I appreciated most about this book was exactly that, it is ruthlessly biblical. He begins by walking us through the doctrine of depravity, showing us that the default setting of the human heart is poverty.
“Everything about Adam and Eve’s fall makes economic prosperity difficult and elusive. In fact, the fall has made poverty the default setting, an ever-present gravitational pull intent on dragging us down.” – Pg. 20
“Sin… not only causes poverty but also poisons our attitude toward those suffering within it.” – Pg. 46
He goes on to explain how the answer to poverty doesn’t lie in resources, strategic plans or even everyone being on the same page. The end of poverty lies in the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we see poverty we tend to see an issue that can simply be fixed by some behavior changes. In the same way we can look at an alcoholic and see that they need to stop drinking. These examples are both true, but the only way there will be permanent change to the behavior is a change from the inside out. The heart needs to change and as Jesus said, “for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). And the same rule applies to all other human behaviors.
At the end of the book he gives us some beneficial practical outlets of how we can serve the poor and bring glory to God around our community and around the world. Aaron interweaves the gospel message through this book, and that is precisely what we need. Before we knew Jesus we were poor (spiritually dead) and walking in darkness. When we meet Jesus we become rich (spiritually alive) and walk in the light. The end of poverty will happen when the “Lord returns: great tribulation and vindication for God’s people, judgment for God’s enemies, and the restoration and renewal of creation.” – Pg. 96
“Without the hope of the coming of the new creation, we have nothing to offer those who suffer in poverty. It is this hope we must share, whether we’re working for relief, development, or social reform.” – Pg. 97
“This is no empty hope. It is a promise from the very mouth of our Lord and Savior. He will do it, as surely as he has promised that he is coming soon.” Pg. 98
Aaron Armstrong has done Christians a great service. I encourage you to read this book, it’s by no means daunting, only 100 pages or so and it will help you develop an understanding of poverty that you will use the rest of your life.