I am a frequent visitor to several Christian blogs. One of the bigger ones I recently visited was discussing Matt 26:11 The poor you will always have with you. There were the usual posts saying that Jesus was inferring that “since the poor will always be here why bother to do anything about it”. These types of comments used to get me upset but I know that is NOT was Jesus was saying so they don’t get to me like they used to.
But there were several comments the to post from people who clearly don’t understand what it means to be poor. First of all I want to be clear that all of the comments were from people in the United States. There were about 30 comments in all on this particular post. One person said something to the effect that poor people are the ones who are still watching TV on the old tube type sets. He didn’t understand why it would be his duty to help them buy flat screens. Another mentioned that some “poor” have to drive cars that are over 5 years old and that is just too bad; they need to get better jobs! Let me say again that this was a Christian blog. Clearly these people have a very narrow and myopic perception of what it means to be poor. They evidently are just not aware of what being poor is really about. It truly amazed me just how sheltered lives some people live.
Some people have labeled today’s twenty to thirty year olds the “Entitlement Generation”. The reasoning goes that this group of people have been raised to believe that they are entitled immediately to high paying jobs and lavish three thousand square foot or larger homes with mandatory oak hardwood floors and granite countertops. I suspect that some of the responders in the above posting are in that category. They seem to have very little concept of what the world actually looks like outside their communities doors. I must admit that I myself didn’t have much of an idea of what the world was really like when I was their age either (but that was many many years ago). I had been raised in a lower middle class community where everyone was white and working class. We didn’t have a lot but we didn’t suffer either. It was not until I got to college that I realized that the rest of the world was not particularly like us. Of course college changed much of that except maybe for the economic status. There were not then, or probably not now, many people in college from poor families. That aspect of my education came later. Anyway, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised even in the Internet age that twentysomethings don’t really know what poverty is.
No poverty is not doing without a flat screen TV or a car that is older than five years. Poverty is where you do not know where your next meal is coming from. You do not have a roof over your head. You do not have safe drinking water. You are surviving on as little at $12/week. Unfortunately a good percentage of the world (some figures show it up to 40% of the world’s population) are in poverty. Yes, that even includes people in the United States.
Let’s end with a prayer. God our father, your Son welcomed all who cam to him, even the outcasts and the despised. Give us faith that dares to come to you, trusting only in your love. Give us a love that accepts others, as we have been accepted by you. Compassionate Savior, too often we forget how many in our world are homeless, poor, and hungry. In your mercy relieve their suffering and pain. Remind us that when we help a person in need we are serving you.