Am I poor? Are you poor? What does being poor actually mean?
When I think about the poor of the world, I visualize people living in garbage dumps, others in shanties and others in card board boxes. I think about people in our city living under the bridge or in their car. Across the world most of the poor live in developing nations such as India and even China according to world economic census figures. And yet we see the poor who live right here around me and you, even though they have cars, cell phones, and yes refrigerators. Poor or rich?
There are many reasons that people are poor. Some are poor because of bad choices or addictive habits. Others are poor due to illness, lack of work, or limited opportunity. Some are poor because they are too young or are now older! Remember though, that just because someone has more money or less money…they are still people of worth and deserve our respect and to be treated with dignity.
This week our church ministered to the poor. Some came by the office asking for assistance, others were playing basketball because they had church funded scholarships, and still others are receiving funds from a Bible Study group. We fed lunch to seniors this week, some who are in need, and we fed about 150 people through our partnership with Katie’s Krops helping elderly, children and others to get by at the end of the month.
In our study this Sunday in Deuteronomy 15 we find God telling us to “open our hand and to freely loan him enough for whatever need he has.” There is a warning against being “hardhearted or tightfisted.” There are also instructions about forgiving debts every seven years. In God’s economy, people help one another out, do not borrow too much, do not lend too much especially with high interest and work together to build a society that can move forward.
I think this passage is about our attitude as both lenders and borrowers. If we think of all that we have as coming from God, then we have a better perspective on how to treat one another when it comes economic issues.
Things to Ponder:
I want to close down every car title loan company. They are truly keeping the poor…poor. Over the years I have helped people get out of the cycle of debt with these places and also companies that lend money at 30% or more. How can that be legal? It is certainly not ethical.
Rule of thumb for me. Never loan a friend/family member money with the expectation of getting it back. Consider it a gift or investment in a relationship.
Keep some cash handy to give to a college student, or a stranger on the street, or an elderly person. A few dollars can go a long way for someone.
Be generous when tipping a server.
Manage your own money well so you can give.
Find alternative ways to spend money on lunch and other non-necessities.