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9. It does no good to argue about figures - whose numbers are right?
10. We know that in reality there are many workers without marketable skills who face low wages, economic exploitation, and unpleasant working conditions.
11. We know that it is very difficult for them to escape their personal and economic situations.
12. We know that in many cases, they are working multiple part-time jobs and that benefits like medical insurance and retirement plans are not available to them.
13. The point that I want to make is that not all the poor are the homeless, and the unemployed.
14. A recent article I clipped from a local paper said that “the hunger statistics in the Central New York area are staggering. Forty-one percent of the hungry are children, and 8 percent are seniors. More than half have a family member who works, but more than half also earn less than $10,000 a year for the entire household. And it’s not just the uneducated poor – 62 percent of hungry adults have a high school or college education.”
II. Question #2: What are the Causes of Poverty?
A. Certainly, many answers could be given. Let me offer a few from the Bible.
B. First, Injustice causes poverty.
1. Proverbs 13:23 says, “The field of the poor yields abundant food, but without justice, it is swept away.”
2. In other words, the immoral, unethical actions of others can cause poverty.
3. How often have we heard about scams that take the resources that senior citizens have saved?
4. The strong do prey on the weak. The rich often exploit the poor.
5. Surely we are all distressed when we hear about company executives taking huge salaries and bonuses for themselves while providing only minimal wages and no benefits for their workers.
6. See, through little fault of their own, some people end up in poverty because of injustice.
C. Second, Wrong choices causes poverty.
1. Proverbs 23:21 says, “The drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty and drowsiness will clothe them with rags.”
2. We have all seen people stumbling down streets drinking hard liquor from a bottle in a paper bag. Alcohol and other drugs can reduce a person to poverty.
3. But so can other addictive behaviors such as gambling.
4. Other wrong choices can include running with the wrong crowd, and dropping out of school.
5. Many of these choices are just that – bad and foolish choices.
6. But we also have to recognize the situations that so many find themselves in that leads to bad choices.
7. Many of the homeless have serious psychiatric illnesses, and many use drugs to try to self-medicate.
8. And so many who choose wrong paths never had the family support, healthy examples, nor spiritual guidance to help them along the way.
D. A third cause of poverty is laziness.
1. Proverbs 10:4 says, “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.”
2. And Proverbs 19:15, “Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless man goes hungry.”
3. Certainly, there are people who are so lazy that they just don’t want to work.
4. But it is far too simplistic, and just wrong, to say that all the poor are just lazy, and that if they would just get a job and work hard then everything would work out for them.
E. We must be very careful about jumping to judgment in these matters.
1. In the case of every poor person there are so many issues that have lead to their
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