Why Poverty Exists–in < 400 words

Genesis 3:6-7 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. (NIV)


The Bite That Changed History

Sin continues around the world with a tragic ferociousness. The relationships broken that day lead to poverty now.
FruitAs Adam and Eve ate the fruit in the garden, four relationships were simultaneously broken:

-People with God-Sin
-People with each other-Conflict
-People with themselves-Regret & Shame
-People with the earth-Misuse

As Bryant Myers says with great insights in his book, “Walking With the Poor”, all poverty can be traced to one of more of these relationships needing reconciliation. Volumes exist with much more thorough diagnoses, but the root of poverty lies at the spot where sin first occurred.

People with God-As they ate the fruit, they sinned for the first time in human history. Sin often leads to poverty: corruption affects access and opportunity, wrong priorities affect how money is spent and selfishness keep answers in the hands of the greedy.

People with each other-When families live in harmony, they’re much more likely to avert poverty. When conflicts lead to divorce, rebellion, domestic violence and abuse, poverty often emerges.

People with themselves-Addictions, poor choices made with simultaneous guilt and more affect poverty.

People with the earth-I’ve flown over Haiti (brown and dry) and the Dominican Republic (green and lush), two countries that share the island of Hispaniola. Haiti exists with deforestation while the Dominican Republic is lush with growth. This island exists as one of many examples where misuse of God’s resources can lead to poverty. (I must note, Haiti is making great progress in this area…)


What does this mean for Short-Term Missions (STM)? The problems we see won’t be solved overnight, and providing things may bring smiles for a moment, but getting to the root of things takes time and tears…and some kind of reconciliation. Teams can be a part of this process.

So what can STM do in the midst of these broken relationships? Many things which we’ll continue to explore on this site. One important truth for all serving through STMs…reconciliation dwells at the root of poverty alleviation; we’re honored with the opportunity to join in the process.

How have you seen reconciliation lead to people flourishing?


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply