I just finished reading a monumental book entitled “Fast Living: How the Church Will End Extreme Poverty” by Scott C. Todd, PhD. Todd is one of the “chief architects” of 58:, a non-profit organization. 58: is an organization dedicated to eradicating extreme poverty by the year 2035.
The mission of 58: and Todd’s purpose for writing Fast Living, is to “move [readers] to expect that Christians, by God’s grace and power, will [sic] bring an end to extreme global poverty in the next twenty-five years.”*
So what is extreme global poverty exactly? $1.25–Todd attaches this monetary value to the term. Those who live in extreme global poverty have less than $1.25 to live on each day. In 1981, 52 percent of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty. Today, about 26 percent do (about 1.5 billion).
While this number may appear to be staggering, Todd optimistically notes that in just one generation, extreme poverty has already been cut in half. With all the resources and gifts that the current Christian Church has been blessed with, he challenges Christians to dare to do the possible–to finish the race against extreme poverty.
Todd argues, “there is a difference between working toward ending poverty and believing it is possible. And there is a difference between believing it is possible and expecting it to happen.” In other words, Christians should not be thinking about how to “manage” poverty; Christians should be thinking about how they will eliminate it. The Church is more than capable of eliminating extreme poverty; it just lacks the motivation to accomplish it.
So how do we become motivated to end extreme poverty? By fasting with more than just a purpose; by fasting to give. Todd calls Christians and non-Christians alike to fast from food, golf, shopping, coffee, or some other and donate what would have spent to help the poor. With just this small gesture (he goes into much more detail and justifications in the book so READ IT!), Todd believes that by the year 2035, extreme poverty will cease to be a reality and fade into the memory of the past. With just this small gesture, we CAN back our words with action, we CAN make the possible a reality, we CAN end extreme poverty.
*All quotes taken from Fast Living: How the Church Will End Extreme Poverty by Scott C. Todd, PhD