Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Rich & Poor: Proverbs 22

"The rich & the poor have this in common, the Lord is the maker of them all." Proverbs 22:2

I think I was most struck by the vast differences between rich & poor in Los Angeles California. Way back when I was in Bible School we did a "missions trip" down to Mexico but we spent a few days in LA doing some missions work right in the thick of things in the inner city. This part stands out in my memories far more than the work we did in Mexico because in LA we were right in the middle with the people.

I can remember sharing my breakfast with a woman who gave me the skinny of her life story, how it came to be where she was at, and then she carried on her day. Every where around us was small cardboard houses leaned up against stone walls, shopping carts full of belongings and people who were really 'down & out' on life. It didn't feel like we walked an entire block to take some stairs above the city and look down on this from sparkling high rises feeling like 'lifestyles of the rich and famous'. We went from cardboard & dirt to palaces in less than a minute. I couldn't grasp how all this wealth could be so oblvious or uncaring to what they saw beneathe their windows every single day. It dumbfounded me.

When I went to Africa, I knew that I was going to see an entire nation that was poor but when I was there, I was surprised to see happy & friendly people. There wasn't such an obvious contrast of side-by-side rich & poor, that when everyone around you is in the same boat, it seemed they just sort of embrace it for what it is & continue on with joy. Oh, I'm sure they still have some amazing struggles, but there was still joy & warmth in their faces.

I don't know why God allows some of His children to suffer with poverty & others to sip from golden cups but I'm sure there is a lesson in there for both ends of the spectrum. The impoverished to learn how to trust & be content & the fortunate to learn that all that He has given can be taken away if they 'shut their ears to the poor'. It is a good reminder for me when I can sit here feeling 'contently blessed' and wondering what I can do to help. There is always someone less fortunate that can use our help with the love of God shining through us!


  1. I can't tell you how much this subject affects me Beck. When I read stuff like this, it takes me back as a child, and you know things are amplified in our minds and hearts at that age... how much the more for a child born in poverty etc... our slights seem so very minimal in comparison. I believe a lot comes with maturity... our hearts open to what our eyes see. Thanks for sharing today!

  2. Makes me think of how some of the poorest people on earth will one day be the richest in Heaven. People can "have it all" down here on earth, but if they don't have Jesus, they ultimately have nothing.

  3. I lived in Africa for many years.
    The poor were my friends but we did not think of them as poor. We just thought of them as people. We were also poor as compared to many..but I lacked nothing in my upbringing. Yes, some people some ways..but hte rich suffer also in their own way. Who thinks about that. Not too many people, but I do..."you think you are rich, but you are poor naked and blind"...
    and so the story goes....I hang out with a lot of people with a lot of money...and they are no different than the poor......if you live after the Spirit....

  4. Thanks Barb for the insight as I know that I can't relate. Not growing up with a silver spoon but always provided for.

    Susan - you are so right!

    Rebecca - how true that the rich are suffering as well. The saying rings true 'money can't buy happiness'