I have been pondering the difference between rich and poor often this month. It stems from a realization of my own wealth. I grew up quite poor most of my years, and developed quite a disdain for “the wealthy.” So this epiphany from Sunday school that I am, in fact, Richly blessed is seriously disconcerting to me.
We’ve all heard it before, we are richly blessed by our loving Father in Heaven. But what does that truly mean to us. Well to me, until last week’s lesson, it meant blessed with intangibles; strength, determination, hope, etc. But today, I see it differently. I live in a weather-resistant home, with a car, a cellphone, and a computer with internet; my family eats 3 meals a day, or more! We have, what they jokingly call, #firstworldproblems.
Lightbulb! Hey kids, guess what?! I’m richer than 90% of the Earth’s current inhabitants! Not to mention those who have gone before. And, I’m willing to bet that since you have the tools and knowledge to read this, so are you!
Did you let that sink in? You are Rich, too.
So how am I coping with this astounding revelation of God’s Love? To be honest, not well. I’m usually wavering around awed humility, but this morning I realized I was angry about it.
I actually wanted to be poor again. This scripture didn’t help: James 1:9-10 “Let the brother of low degree (poor) rejoice in that he is exalted; but the rich, in that he is made low…” So this has been going ’round in my head. “I don’t want to be rich, I don’t want to be made low. I am low, I’m struggling to pay the bills just like everyone else.”
But here’s the thing, we are struggling to pay the bills for our luxuries. We are not fighting for our very survival.
—Disclaimer: I’m about to get painfully graphic here.—
We are not watching our infants starve to death before us. We are not forced to sell our daughters into sex slavery to pay the bribe money to keep farming land we have held for generations. We are not buying moldy bread with the coins we receive by shoveling people’s fecal matter out of the street. We are not trying to shield our children from the destruction of our roof because a bomb just took half of it away. We are not being sent walking thousands of miles from camp to camp trying to find one that has an extra spot of mud to lie down in. We are not searching desperately for loved ones whom we lost while fleeing from war and tryanny. We are not living in the same puddle of mud for 5 years watching our children die of dysentery. We are not forced to smile for some old man while he tears apart the once innocent fabric of our insides.
You and I are Rich. And we need to come to terms with it, and decide what, in His name, we are going to do about it.