And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:28 (ESV)
I am typing this post on my laptop. I am old enough to remember not having a personal computer. In fact, I am old enough to remember not having a calculator! I actually used a slide rule (Google it) to do complicated math formulas my sophomore year in high school.
How did we get our laptops? Someone created it.
They did not just magically appear one day. Think about this; the raw materials to make the stuff, that makes up the stuff, that makes up you computer was on this planet in the first six days of creation! Humanity learned to “have dominion” over creation and “subdue it” for good, and, unfortunately, after the Fall in Genesis 3, for evil. We choose how we will use the gifts, talents, abilities, and life experiences God has given us.
The first reason “Everyone has Value” is because we were created in the image of God. The second reason is because everyone has gifts, talents, abilities, and life experiences, that can be redeemed, developed, and employed for our own sense of meaning and purpose, the common good, and the glory of God.
Much of our current poverty alleviation efforts is actually counter-productive to giving people a sense of value. When we do for others what they could do for themselves, we are telling them, “I really don’t believe you have anything to contribute to society. I don’t believe you have what it takes to put food on your table, clothes on your kids’ backs, shoes on their feet, or keep the lights on in your house.”
So, why do we keep doing it?
Here are a few:
- misplaced compassion
- a ‘savior’ mentality
- it’s quicker just to give these folks stuff instead of developing a relationship with them to help them discover their value.
Several years ago, the Life Enrichment Center began to change how we engage in poverty alleviation. We haven’t perfected it by any means. We are still working it out.
But, more than ever, we believe, “Everyone has Value”. It is our joy to help our neighbors discover it!