Rob Bell on Poverty

Just finished listening to a Catalyst podcast featuring an interview with Rob Bell, an enjoyable enough fellow to listen to with some good ideas to share. He spoke about South Africa, church in the West, and more. Then he got speaking about poverty and the church’s response to it. These were no doubt the most powerful words to this listener…

I don’t think this is necessarily to save the poor; I think it’s for our salvation. I think that we have been blessed beyond measure, and if we don’t give it away and steward it well, our own souls are going to shrivel up. This is about the state of our own souls. According to Jesus’ teachings, we’re in trouble if we hog it or keep it to ourselves.

There’s 2103 verses on the poor and oppressed. This is how Jesus began his first sermon: ‘I’ve been anointed to preach the good news to the poor.’ God is with the poor; we’re with God when we’re with the poor.

God has no interest in us building our empires.

This is a huge issue. The rich man and Lazarus… I mean, the rich man is in hell because he ignored the needs of Lazarus by his front gate. So for Jesus, there’s a very literal, earthly hell for those who ignore the need of those around them. I would even argue the man who builds bigger barns… the only clear passages where Jesus speaks of somebody in hell are about a religious person with extraordinary wealth that doesn’t share it with those who are in need. That’s where he gives specific cases of those who are in hell even if they are parables.


PS: On a lighter note (but don’t let it derail the above thoughts)… Rob Bell has never listened to a podcast in his life, and he doesn’t do much on the internet… his own words.

1 thought on “Rob Bell on Poverty

  1. i have really enjoyed much of what rob has to say. i think there is a lotta stuff he bring a unique perspective to.

    with that said, about poverty. i agreed with God’s emphasis on the poor. i believe we should have the same. and that we shouldnt seek empires, but to give healing. with that said, i also agree that we become shriveled if we dont help the needy. (helping doesnt necessarily mean giving them money either. sometimes it might just mean hanging out with them and talking with them)

    but i dont agree with rob that its never about the needy. i do agree its not about their salvation. we are not called to love people because we think it will save them. we are called to love people because JC loved us first. we are called to love people because we cant love God without loving our neighbor.

    and loving them is not about “getting them saved”. its an unconditional love. its loving them even if the never receive Christ. we are supposed to love our enemies. so the return of love is not a promise or a driving factor. the only thing we need worry about is loving them. let God change their hearts.


Leave a Reply