Defending the poor

Imagine this. You’re walking through the market one day and in the distance you can hear a growing commotion. The sound of animals charging, birds flapping, coins flying, tables crashing, traders shouting… and one voice above them all. Jesus, armed with a whip of cords, brimming with righteous anger at the injustice around him. We see this picture in the Bible

You see, these traders preyed on the poor, selling overpriced doves to people who couldn’t afford bigger sacrifices, forcing punters to use temple currency, exchanged at extortionate rates.

Two thousand years later and you have to ask two questions. Firstly: do the poor get a just deal? Is it just that the Foodbank is the town’s fast-growing charity? Is it just that they distributed 26 tonnes of food in the last year – almost as much as in the previous two years combined? Is it just that people rely on the generosity of friends because nobody can give them a straight answer about their benefit claim? Is it just that someone who can’t afford £175 for a washing machine has little option but to pay £7 a week for three years (that’s £1,092 in total)? Is it just that human trafficking – that’s slavery – exists? And may well exist in a town (or even a street) near you?

Secondly, what’s our response? The Bible tells us “open your mouth, judge righteously; defend the rights of the poor”. If you have any kind of a voice – a vote, a group of friends, a position of influence, a place on a voluntary committee, a Facebook or Twitter account – think: how can you use your voice? To speak up for the 2,000 people illegally trafficked into the UK each year? To speak up for those trapped in a cycle of debt and poverty?

Now, I’m not suggesting you go into a well-known rent-to-own retailer and start pulling plasma-screen TVs off the walls. But consider the world immediately around you and consider how you can be the voice for people who don’t get to be heard.

Andy King, The Gateway Church