Of Dust and Ash Heaps

Girl holding Psalm 113

Psalm 113: 7-8

He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes,
with the princes of his people.

Recently, I have been reading a great book, Hope Rising by Scott C. Todd. The subtitle is, “How Christians Can End Extreme Poverty in this Generation.” Imagine seeing the end to extreme poverty. While we think it would be an incredible miracle, and no doubt it would, my God is in the miracle business.

As a new school year begins for many children, and parents everywhere celebrate, I find myself thinking about the part education plays in poverty. There are many reasons poverty exist, and one of the biggest contributors to global poverty is lack of access to education. Lack of education and illiteracy keep people, mostly women and girls, from gaining the skills they need to lift themselves out of poverty. Our fast paced world demands educated and literate people to keep up with advanced technologies which move us forward. Those without proper education are left languishing in poverty.

Here are some facts from Compassion International about the lack of education in developing countries.

  • Worldwide, nearly 80 percent of primary-school-age children attend school. In least developed countries, this figure is around 66 percent.
  • The largest out-of-school population is in sub-Saharan Africa, where around 45.5 million children of primary school age are out of school.
  • Of the 67 million primary-school-age children who do not attend school, 53 percent are girls.
  • Worldwide, only 49 percent of children of secondary school age actually attend secondary school.
  • Of the 49 percent of secondary age students who do not attend school, 52 percent are girls.
  • The world’s functional illiterates include more than 130 million children who do not attend school, 73 million of them girls.

In Hope Rising, Scott Todd writes, “Over the past three decades, the extent of global poverty has declined rapidly. The percentage of people living in extreme poverty in 2013 is less than half of what it was in 1990.” It is possible to end extreme poverty, but it will take you and me doing our part. Psalm 113:7 says, God raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap. God has done his part. Now comes ours. As Matthew West sings, He created you and me to do something.

So, what is it? What does He want you to do? I don’t know. For me, one thing was sponsoring a child. Maybe it is for you too.

Compassion offers children in poverty the chance to change the facts about education one child at a time. When you sponsor a child with Compassion, your sponsorship provides school fees, uniforms, books and supplies – all things that prevent children from attending school. Your money also provides basic necessities for the family so the child does not have to work.

The education facts tell a discouraging story, but Compassion is working to change this. Through its sponsorship program, children attend school and get an education. This allows them the hope of escaping their circumstances and ending the cycle of poverty in their lives.

Your sponsorship helps to raise the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap.

To find out more go to Compassion.com or ask me about my sponsorship experience.

If you are in Northern California join me for Change the Story — a brand-new and immersive experience from Compassion. The sights and sounds of life in a poor, developing-world community will come alive as you journey with a child through the challenges of daily life. Space is limited. Make your complimentary reservation to attend this eye-opening experience now. Coming to Calvary Temple Church, Concord, CA. September 19-22, 2014.