For some of us, that might be a novel thought.
Poverty is about broken relationships
As citizens of one of the most financially affluent cultures of our time, I believe that we almost categorically understand poverty as a lack of “stuff” or the resources to have “stuff”.
But poverty goes much further than this – poverty is the expression of broken relationships:
- Relationship with God
- Relationship with ourselves
- Relationships with each other
- Relationships with creation/nature
Because it’s about broken relationships, poverty attacks our value as people, our very humanity as souls created in the image of God. Poverty says to us:
- You’re not good enough. God doesn’t care about you.
- You’re not important enough so it doesn’t matter what you do.
- You have to look out for yourself even if you must take advantage of others.
- Don’t worry about it, you don’t have to take care of the earth.
- You can’t ever provide for your needs. Don’t even try.
- Whatever happens is just fate.
- It’ll never get better, so just fill your life with diversions.
Taking a look
It’s easy enough to see these kinds of things as it relates to material poverty. We have certainly seen enough movies to at least know the stereotypes of poverty, learned helplessness, and hopelessness. I’m sure nearly everybody has at least heard a story about some very poor person receiving financial or food aid while maintaining several hundred channels of TV with Pay-per-View.
But here’s the deal: we all do this. Maybe not with finances. Maybe our toys and diversions and coping mechanisms are more refined and more easily-defensible in terms of living on earth. But they fall amazingly short of the mark in light of the eternal treasure that is God, himself.
How about you?
I know I often walk a life sticken by spiritual poverty even though God has already given me everything – himself.
How about you?
Do you see this in your life?
How about the lives of those around you?
What are you going to do about it?
Can you see how recognizing your poverty can lead to blessing?
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.