Inside Out 271: Living Simply, Giving Justly

02.27.13 | Martha Manikas-Foster

Our world’s broken.  A billion people live in urban slums, maybe 800,000 are bought and sold as slaves, and an increasing number are sleeping on the streets because they can’t consistently afford housing.

In the face of such great need, we often feel powerless.

“I think sometimes people feel overwhelmed by the massive numbers and the deep injustices in the world,” says Inside Out guest Gary VanderPol. “And they feel like, ‘Oh, we can’t end this, so I won’t do anything.’”

It’s no surprise that our guest encourages us not to give up. In fact, he suggests that it’s actually within our means to give financially in ways that can champion God’s work in the world. Not only that, the personal sacrifice required to free up these resources has the potential of changing us--of driving us closer to becoming the grateful, dependent, obedient disciples God desires.

“We’re not called to change the lives of two billion people. That’s God’s job. Our job is to just be faithful stewards of the small amount we have—but that winds up being many, many people who I believe someday we’re going to meet . . . in heaven. And so that’s one aspect of what it means to ‘store up treasures in heaven.’”

Gary’s one of the authors of a small group curriculum titled “Lazarus at the Gate” http://economicdiscipleship.com/. Since 2006, groups that have used the study have—in total--given more than a quarter of a million dollars to fight global poverty. They’ve done this by cutting back—bypassing Starbucks in the morning, for instance, or trading in their cars for public transportation—and giving the money they saved to organizations that fight global poverty.

The call, he says, is to live more simply. That way we can exercise the privilege of giving more justly.

“No matter where we’re at, it’s just taking the next step. Even if it’s very small,” Gary says. “I think it really pleases God and it begins to set us in a direction of faithful economic discipleship.”

Gary currently serves as an assistant professor at Denver Seminary and the director of its Justice and Mission program. He’s been a co-pastor and a missionary, and--prior to joining the Denver Seminary faculty--taught at the Evangelical Seminary for Pastoral Education in San José, Costa Rica.

I invite you to listen to our conversation about economic discipleship by clicking on the “Listen” button above. 

Gary blogs under the title “Simple Living for Just Giving.” Find the blog at this site: http://economicdiscipleship.com/about/

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Inside Out airs Wednesdays at 12:20pm EST during the Family Life Noon Report.

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