Jul 2, 2010

Blessed are the poor

I grew up poor by American standards. I had to take out school loans for college and am still paying them off. My husband grew up poor too. But, we've lived and worked among the middle class for a long time. I guess we've subconsciously learned middle class norms.  Several times I've been told that I have a knack for getting along with the less fortunate, those who are down and out. I never thought of that much, but it's probably because I was and in some sense still am one of them.

Neither my husband nor I have parents to foot any kind of bills.  We help our families. And I never used to think about money much, but as I said in a post a few months ago, I've learned that many times in the church and in Christian organizations--money still talks.  We show favoritism towards the wealthy over the wise. That said, I understand that wealth and wisdom are not mutually exclusive. Yet many times those with money are on the boards solely because they have money. And with money often times comes power. People fail to speak truth because they don't want to offend a donor of their organization or a big tither in their church. Money silences truth telling in those cases. Money and social status make a huge difference in the church, even though we claim it shouldn't be so. It's not just in politics. Sadly, our practice is different than our theology. Like politicians, we can be easily bought off. We must remember that all that glitters is not Christian.

Whenever I start feeling pangs of self-pity, whenever I forget that I am eminently wealthy because God is my inheritance, I remember that Jesus, though he was rich, for our sakes became poor. My poverty is nothing like that of others in the rest of the world. So really, I should never have self-pity. But unfortunately, there are times when I start feeling it. But when I do, I recall Jesus. In some way, I am in solidarity with him.

We can serve Mammon through greed or by always worrying about life because of our lack of money. Both are serving Mammon.  But honestly, in my opinion, I believe the American church for the most part is trying to serve two gods, the true Lord and Mammon. Which one do we despise? And which one do we love? Jesus said we would love and serve one and hate the other. We can't serve both.

I have a great inheritance. My relationship with the Lord and all the blessings that he has given me in this life are much to rejoice over.

Forgive me God when I give into self-pity. Thank you Jesus that you are not controlled by power moves or wealth. Thank you that you are close to the humble and contrite in spirit. Thank you that you move on behalf of the poor. You came to preach good news to us. Your Spirit and enabling transcend the chariots and horses of humankind. You aren't inhibited by the systems or injustices of humankind.  O God, you are my help. With you I can scale a wall.

1 comment:

Brother said...

Nice post Marlena. I can identify with being poor, and I grew up without much but I was happy. I think my poverty helped me become the grateful person I am today.