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Saturday, June 7, 2008

Being Poor

Recently my boss passed along an interesting entry on a blog called "Whatever". I read through the post which enumerated many one liners starting with "Being poor is ..." As I read it I remember times in my life when I have identified with some of the statements. But, I also was struck by some thoughts that relate to the gospel.

Being poor is thinking $8 an hour is a really good deal.

Being poor is needing that 35-cent raise.

Being poor is six dollars short on the utility bill and no way to close the gap.

Recently I was talking to a woman who told me she had a real good job. It pays really well. But, since they cut back on hours she was struggling and needed some help. Her job paid $8.00 an hour and she was a single mom with two children and a grand-baby living with her! A couple months later a simple accident made it so that she was not able to work for a couple days. She lost her job. She then lost her apartment. She lost every thing and she and her familhy are now living one room rental. When you live that close to the edge, it doesn't take much to fall off! I am not the smartest guy on earth, but I know this, Jesus loves her. And because of this love followers of Jesus can serve her, and show her his love!

Being poor is relying on people who don't give a damn about you.

Being poor is getting tired of people wanting you to be grateful.

This to me is one of the reasons why followers of Jesus can't do things like the world does. The need for help is imperative in many of these situations. But if it is given through caring people who live out God's love in practical ways --- this can be life changing! How many conditions does our love have? The problems with attaching strings to acts of kindness or charity is in how they are attached. It is usually with a hook!

Being poor is people surprised to discover you're not actually stupid.

Being poor is people surprised to discover you're not actually lazy.

Being poor is knowing you're being judged.

It amazes me how unloving we can be in judging our neighbor. People know when they are being judged. Just a momentary look, or a slight tone of voice, the choice of a particular word or maintaining an certain posture can speak louder than the words we use to express God's love. Everything we do displays our hearts. Jesus is right in saying that out of the "heart proceeds all manner of evil." Do we fall into the same traps of judgement as the world does?

Being poor is picking the 10 cent ramen instead of the 12 cent ramen because that's two extra packages for every dollar.

Being poor is hoping the register lady will spot you the dime.

Being poor is wondering if your well-off sibling is lying when he says he doesn't mind when you ask for help.

I got a call from a senior citizen. It took me a couple days to get over to her apartment and bring her some food. When I did she told me her electric had just been turned off. She had no food in the house. She also told me that she got $14 in food stamps for the month! That was surprising. Then she told me that she stopped going over to her daughter's because her son-in-law gave her a hard time for having a bowl of cereal. I was floored. Then she told me that her brother-in-law was a pastor, but he was so busy that he made her feel unloved and an imposition if she asked for any help. Now I was hurt ... I knew the pastor!

Being poor is having to live with choices you didn't know you made when you were 14 years old.

Being poor is knowing how hard it is to stop being poor.

The Gospel is good news to the poor! Have we been sharing it "in such a way" that it is actually good news? I am grateful that my savior was a poor, homeless, refuge, born to an unwed mom, in an oppressed land. It is no wonder Jesus says, "if you have done it to the least of my brethern, you have done it unto me." It is how we take care of the poor that shows what kind of people we are. (And what kind of God we serve.)

There are always going to be poor and needy people among you. So I command you: Always be generous, open purse and hands, give to your neighbors in trouble, your poor and hurting neighbors. Deuteronomy 15:11 The Message.

You can read the blog these one liners are taken from by clicking here --> Whatever - Being Poor There were over 700 responses to this blog entry before they shut down comments. Others added many more "Being poor ..." statements.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this such a true way of looking at some of the things that significantly effect our world. if only more people would change the way that they percieve others who are less fortunate or even take the time to help out, it would make a tremendous diffrence in our world today.