I’d like to start with a thought experiment: God asks you to name a salary that you want to receive. This amount would never change for the duration of your life. The amount would be tax-free and you are allowed to do anything with it. The only caveat is that any amount you make on top of this amount, you would have to donate. So if you receive a gift from your parents, you would have to donate that money to charity.
Think about how much you’d want to receive on a yearly basis. You only get one shot.
If I were to guess, that number is higher than what you make right now.
When my pastor ask the congregation this question, it was amazing that everyone admitted that what they make is not enough. And let me tell you, there were people in that room that make at least three times more than what I make. What surprised me the most is that everyone wanted more money.
The point he was trying to make is that we will never be satisfied while we are on this side of eternity.
As the economic crisis deepens, more and more families are realizing how little money they really have. Many people are re-evaluating their finances, cutting back, keeping a much leaner budget. Because these people are being forced to live below what they are used to, they wish that they had more money.
Today is Blog Action Day – a day where bloggers around the world write about one topic. This year’s topic is poverty. There are many blogs that suggest a way to end poverty. I respectfully disagree with them. Poverty is not a disease that can be cured. Jesus even says that the poor will always be with us. I think that poverty is a state of mind that we are to accept.
Don’t get me wrong; there are real people that have real needs that live far below what we would consider to be a standard of living. These people should be comforted and helped to the best that we are able. There isn’t enough money in the world that we could redistribute that would overcome the amount of poverty that exists. Instead, I hope to attack a different problem: the perception of poverty.
I wholeheartedly think that no matter how much money you have, you’ll always want more. No matter how full your stomach gets, you’ll still get hungry. And no matter how powerful you are, you’ll always want a better position with more influence. The problem isn’t poverty; the problem is ourselves.
Too many times I’ve heard people complain about how much life would be different if they were married or how they could donate more money if only they made a little bit more. But the reality is that many of us have so much to be thankful for. Christians are called to live a life full of joy! They are called to be content in every situation. But many of them, including myself, fail – not because we don’t have enough but because we want more.
The truth lies in the fact that we have everything we need. Yes, even those people who are starving have everything they need. And yes, it’s easy for me to say that because I’m not starving. But follow me here.
Have you ever noticed that people who are homeless or people who are starving have amazingly simple lives? They clothes and shoes and sometimes a roof over their head. But much of their life is unencumbered by the demands of paying bills, choosing what restaurant to go to, or what shoes to wear. I don’t say this to belittle them. But I think there is something to this that many of us who are "better off" don’t understand. Perhaps it’s us that are impoverished because no matter what, we’ll still want the latest fashions, the hottest electronics. The poor would be happy to simply have a good meal and a friendly conversation.
Friends, my encouragement to you is to take stock of your life and see what you have. Learn to be content with what you have. Serve the poor and learn from their lives. Learn how simple life can be. Don’t just say you’ll do something. DO SOMETHING!