A snippet from a recent conversation with a friend (slightly paraphrased) :-
Friend. It’s irritating, frustrating when I’m poor. When I don’t have a bit of spare cash in my pocket, or I’m concerned about paying the bills.
Me. Is that because we have a sense that being poor isn’t how it’s supposed to be? We think that having comfort, convenience, security, enough for our needs and most of our wants is how it’s supposed to be, so it seems there’s something fundamentally wrong when life isn’t that way.
Friend, after a long pause. No, I don’t think that’s right, because if living comfortably is not “how it’s supposed to be”, then living in poverty must be the way it’s supposed to be.
Hmm. My turn to think deeply. No, I don’t think poverty is the way things are supposed to be. So it seems I’m wanting to reject both the statement, and its antithesis.
Okay, I’ll leave the logicians to sort that out. I guess where I’m going is this. God allows some of us to be afflicted by poverty, and he allows some of us to be afflicted by wealth. Except we don’t usually regard the latter as an affliction.
Firstly, those of us in the developed world don’t usually think of ourselves as wealthy. But we are. The USA is the wealthiest nation that has ever existed, and most of us who live here are wealthy by almost any comparison. Something similar goes for the rest of the developed world. Comfort and convenience we take for granted; we get to feel they are our right. I know – me too.
If we can accept that, then we need to accept also that Jesus told us life for us is difficult. It’s so difficult for us to live authentic Kingdom lives, it’s like trying to push a camel through the eye of a needle. Really. It seems wealth is a more dangerous affliction than poverty.
As I said, I participate in the desire, and the push, to maximize comfort, convenience, and even the surplus to fufill a few of life’s dreams. And I don’t think that’s necessarily wrong. But I need to know what Jesus’ words mean for me. He made a pretty strong statement! And I feel discomfort with the comment my friend made. The comment I started with. Do you feel it too?
How to start sorting out this dilemma? One thought is that the wealthier we are (and as above, we are wealthy) the harder it is for us to firstly recognize the dilemma, and secondly to do anything about it. There’s too much at stake.
What do you think? I’d be glad for you to go to https://www.athousandtearsfromhome.com/ scroll down to the Facebook link, and post a response.