I have known this author through twitter and his blog for just about a year, so I was very excited when his first book released. I must say I was not at all disappointed, rather I was quite impressed with the work. The topic of the book Awaiting A Savior is about poverty and how we as believers should respond. This is a timely topic for today and it is one that Armstrong is uniquely qualified to tackle given that he works for a Christian charity agency that seeks to aid the poor. So he comes from both a practical and theological perspective and merges the two in a beautiful and Biblical way.
In the introduction Armstrong urges us to turn to the Bible for the ultimate answer to poverty and reminds us to go to the heart of the problem for the answers. You know this sounds so simple, but how often do we do this? We get so caught up in our own mental reasoning capabilities that we oft times forget to go back to the source of all knowledge and wisdom. So although simple this admonition to return to scripture is a profound one.
In chapter ine Armstrong does just what he advocated in the introduction. To begin the discussion about poverty he takes us to the beginning of scripture, the creation and the fall. He stresses the impact that the fall has had on all subsequent humanity and how that relates to poverty, again not a theologically or Biblical complex point but a deep one, one that has weighty implications for how we address poverty. After this, in chapter two, Armstrong looks at the why this is so important. Failing to remember that sin is the ultimate cause of poverty and that sin is the ultimate poverty can lead us to attempt man made efforts. It is important for us to examine our motivations for why we want to work with the poor. Are we doing it to make a name for ourselves, or are we seeking to make much of God? Many authors dealing with the subject of poverty never address these questions rather they just hammer reason after reason, method upon method, and fact after fact into our heads. They want us to believe that there is always more we can do to help ease poverty and that if we can just give one more percent of our money we can eliminate it all together. Armstrong does none of this, he takes us to the heart of the issue and keeps us focused there.
Chapters three, four, and five definitely keep our focus on the core of the issue. In these chapters we are reminded to seek God, base our identity in Him, resist the temptation of legalism, and that grace is the key. What we believe about God and the truth of His grace blossoms into the fruit of how we live and what we do. Again instead of focusing on methodology and guilting us into action, Armstrong takes us to the heart of God and to His truth.
Chapter six brings the truth of worshiping Christ as we serve into the picture. Contained in this truth is the fact that we will always have poor among us, so trying to eradicate poverty is foolish and we need to have realistic expectations based on God’s word. Also we serve the poor because we love and worship Jesus. Chapter seven carries this thought out more as we are cautioned to give from an attitude of grace and not compulsion. The final chapter, chapter eight, reminds us to set our minds on Christ and on things above.
This is a wonderful short book. It may be short in length, but it gets right to the point of addressing poverty Biblically. I would recommend all Believers to read this book to gain a better understanding of how we can minister God’s grace to the poor. I am a church planter now, but for awhile I pastored the largest church in a small town. Being the largest church in a small town means you are constantly bombarded by people needing financial help. At times this can easily make you jaded to where you think most of them are abusing the system. At other times it leads you to tears as you hear about the situations in which people live. Awaiting A Savior deals with the questions that being in that situation brought up to me.
This book is also great for a Bible study class or discussion group as there are reflection questions at the end of each chapter. These questions can be used in those settings or as you read through it yourself to help internalize the message of the book. I hope you consider reading this book, I know you will be blessed.