Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Lemsip and poverty

If you had the flu this winter, you might have imbibed some Lemsip. It might have helped; you probably felt a bit better.

Did it cure your flu?

No. Lemsip cannot cure the flu, all it does is relieve some of the symptoms. In order to be utterly rid of the virus you need to find the cause, and destroy it. The root of the problem needs to die before the affliction is truly gone.

Last week I saw a poster outside a local church that made me think. The poster said this:

"Poverty is not the problem, greed is. Make greed history."

This is what my Lemsip example is all about. We see the symptoms of poverty all around us, but are our alleviating strategies targetting the root of the problem? Is it possible for the affliction of poverty to disappear while so many people still emulate Mr. Greedy? If we want to make poverty history, we need to make greed history too.

But hang on.

Greed is the cause of poverty, but what is the cause of greed?

Greed is not simply the root of poverty, it is itself a symptom of something much more deadly; our sinful nature. Prolific greed in our world points to our fallen fleshly desires - the longing of our hearts to have more and be better than our fellow humans. To be rid of this horrible virus we need to kill the root. Our sinful nature needs to die. Only then can we be free from greed, and in turn, free from poverty. God, in His mercy, offers us the cure:

"Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires." - Galatians 5:24

If we want to make poverty history, we need Jesus. Other options soothe the symptoms, but nothing else will kill the cause.

1 comment:

John Madeley said...

For insights into Make Poverty History from Christian faith and practice, see my new bookBeyond Reach? which tells the story of the Make Poverty History campaign in 2005 in a novel way. There are details on

Royalties from the book go to agencies working to eradicate poverty.

“A gripping and inspiring story of forbidden love and the struggle for justice. In a hundred years people will look back on our culture of greed and realise books like this helped change the world” - Revd. David Rhodes