Will the real poor person please stand up? I wonder if we really know who the poor are. I know that we qualify people below the poverty line. We usually include the homeless, and many other downtrodden. What about the people that you associate with more often? Who are the poor amongst them (or us)?
In our church family we have many who would qualify as “poor” to some degree when considering “stuff.” But I want to focus on a couple of them who have taught me so much.
First their is William–a young man whose life’s story is a book. He is 15 years old and only he and a few of his siblings attend our church gatherings. William has overcome so many obstacles to be where he is. Most of the time, he is responsible for the care of his young siblings because of his home situation. He rarely has a ride to church, so he rides his bicycle. Today it was about 34 degrees outside. I arrived to the building early only to find William there a few minutes after me. He rode his bicycle. He is a hard worker too. Though he has a ways to go in some respects, he is on his way to being a productive young man and is a tremendous encouragement to us at Creekside.
Second there is Marco. I still don’t know much about Marco. He is from LA and came to our area to get free from some influences in his life. He has lived with the Salvation Army for a while and is with them now. He got a “job” at a hotel and worked 8 hours a day seven days a week for a room. Though he might have reasons to not be a part of our assemblies, he values being together. It is a time of encouragement to him and us. He is there every time he is available to be there. We are at present discussing how we can help him get some more permanent housing for himself. He has had some problems with his birth certificate and can’t get a photo ID without it. Without ID he can’t find sufficient work. We are waiting on it in the mail.
When I think about these two and others, they encourage me out of their “poverty.” They don’t let the world around them discourage them from serving God. They are rich in heart and Spirit. That, I believe, is the right kind of riches. God help us to reach out to the poor so that they can come to God and we can receive the lessons they give in the kingdom.