Free­dom from Poverty

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Ac­cord­ing to James Orr, the qual­ity of per­sonal and so­cial life can be seen as a kind of sec­ondary free­dom.143 Poverty is also a threat to peace as men­tioned

above.144 Hu­mans must have their ba­sic needs sat­is­fied, such as food and sat­is­fac­tory liv­ing con­di­tions, in or­der to peace to ex­ist.

Free­dom en­cour­ages eco­nomic progress, and is a com­po­nent of eco­nomic pros­per­ity, as well.145 In Old Tes­ta­ment times, peo­ple con­sid­ered free­dom as a kind

of ma­te­rial lib­erty, “free­dom from taxes and other types of obli­ga­tions” (1 Sam

17:25).

The Bi­ble sup­ports free­dom from hunger as a de­sired out­come; Je­sus fed five thou­sand peo­ple, as recorded in Mk 6:42, 44: “They all ate and were sat­is­fied, the

num­ber of the men who had eaten was five thou­sand.” Also in Job 29:12, Job is pre­sented as a good ex­am­ple, hav­ing res­cued the poor and the fa­ther­less, who had none to as­sist them. Sim­i­larly, Job made the widow’s heart sing (Job 29:13). There was a prom­ise to the poor in Lev 26:5: “You will eat all the food you want and live in safety in your land.” Fur­ther­more, who­ever fol­lows the teach­ings and be­lieves in God will pros­per (Prov 3:2). The poor hope for God to de­liver them from suf­fer­ing; ac­cord­ing to Job 5: 16, “the poor have hope.” Be­liev­ers do not ex­pect to be poor for­ever. Christ was with the poor through­out his stay on earth.

The gospel is preached to the poor, the blind, the cap­tives, and the op­pressed (Lk 4:18). It is clear that Je­sus has come for those who ex­ist on the mar­gin of so­ci­ety.146 In the Chris­tian gospel, poverty is para­dox­i­cally the great­est trea­sure.147 It en­cour­ages spir­i­tu­al­ity, and Christ iden­ti­fied with the poor.

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