Jesus Christ:The Only Solution To Poverty

Writer Author  Douglas Stambler
Christian Article : Overcoming Struggles  - Fiction  No

Christian Author Writer It is two days after July 4th. I am sitting in a neighborhood park in Minneapolis, where The Gospel Light Baptist Church is having its annual picnic. It is a very small church, maybe forty-five people in all. And the pastors have the courage of Christ to open their doors to all who will enter. Saturday is another day in the lives of Minneapolis’ homeless: They wander the city looking for handouts and drug dealers. Come Sunday –which is today- they grab sandwiches from the back of a truck parked on Currie Street, down near the bus station. The owner of the vehicle is a good samaritan, who does more than his share to feed the poor. Too many homeless men have fallen through the cracks, and yet, there is always the hope that Jesus Christ will one day shine in their eyes, too.

Christ is the only solution to poverty. Minnesota is a great example of why anything else ultimately fails. For years, this bustling, midwestern metropolis defined itself as a place for blue-collar opportunity. It gave away low-rent apartments to laborers from the South, who paid attention to where the jobs were in the 1960s and early 70s. In fact, Minneapolis avoided the cyclical downturns of more popular cities like New York and Chicago, only because of its insistence that everyone who could work should be asked to work. And so it went, the Twin Cities became a place where everything seemed to go right, and it maintained that image right through the economic downturn in 2001. And still, it took about two more years for the reality of the current recession to hit home, because Minnesota earmarked billions of dollars for working families, and provided a safety net for the unemployed.

But if three words could sum up what Minneapolis –the apple of Minnesota’s eye- is encountering now, it would have to be said that “Only Christ Succeeds.” State social service programs are failing; single mothers and their children are suddenly winding up homeless; and, able-bodied men are giving up hope for something better than chronic life on the streets. And yet, as the secular solutions to poverty continue to fail, there are rays of hope still shining brightly in the Twin Cities. Three in particular, are worth mentioning here: They are 1) The Union Gospel Mission in St. Paul; 2) Mary Jo’s Place in Minneapolis; 3) and, the outreach ministry to the poor at The Gospel Light Baptist Church, also in Minneapolis.

All of these serve the poor in a Christ-centered manner. In St. Paul, the mission there offers two catered meals a day, excellent living arrangements and ample opportunities for men to come to know Jesus Christ. This professionally-run facility seems to double as a community center, with volunteers singing the mission’s praises for a high-level of respect given to each and every man who stays there. Mary Jo’s Place in Minneapolis is a miracle where it’s needed most. The day center feeds over 350 people daily, offers them clothing and gives them a sense of welcome, unlike any large facility for the poor in all of Minneapolis. Mary Jo, who works daily at this multi-million dollar instrument of God, is a legend in her own right, and is currently raising money for a new orphanage nearby. Finally, for men who want a roof over their heads and a church community, there is The Gospel Light Baptist Church. Small in size, but extra-large in heart, The Gospel Light Baptist Church recruits men from the streets to live in one of their transitional homes, and learn Christian living principles. The three rays of hope all are Christ-centered in their approach to poverty.


I’m still in Minneapolis, now at the bus station waiting to go back West towards Idaho. Often, I think about the millions of Christians who trust all the different charities with their generous donations. And now that I’ve been to Minneapolis/St. Paul to experience what men in poverty go through on a daily basis, I’d have to say that 80-85% of the money donated to Twin Cities charities never directly benefits the neediest homeless men, who are living on the streets. And so I offer this article as a sort of letter of introduction for myself and as a reference for three charities that are getting the job done for poor people, every day. I encourage you to consider directing your donations to either the UGM St. Paul, Mary Jo’s Place and The Gospel Light Baptist Church or directly to homeless people themselves in the form of long-term housing.

Jesus Christ is the only solution to poverty, and what better way to help the poor than to help them in the way Christ would have? In the spirit, in basic needs, in love and compassion.

May God bless you and your family.

In Christ,
Douglas Stambler

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