Poverty and Charity

Many of you know that I am a youth minister. I have spent the last three weeks speaking to the teens about the issue of poverty and charity. I held a food drive for them and I was amazed at their generosity. They filled two HUGE boxes of food for a local food bank. I did a lot of research on poverty, both in the U.S. and global, in order to prepare for my meetings. All of this had an impact on me on a personal level.

I mentioned in my last blog that my perspective is beginning to change and I think that both these meetings on poverty and the 7 months I spent in unemployment have had a role in this change. First of all, my time in unemployment was a big lesson in humility. I have never been a person to ask for or receive handouts. I’m just not comfortable with it. I never asked for help during that time, but our wonderful friends just kept giving. It was a truly wonderful experience. Unemployment also helped me realize that we can live with A LOT less than we had been living with. God always provided us with what we needed!

Then I start working on this task of helping the teens to understand poverty on a deeper level. Some of the statistics I came across were just astounding! I was deeply moved. I came across this statistic that said: “If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace…you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.” I was floored by this. I, my family, in the midst of all of our struggles, are richer than 92% of the world! Most, if not all, of you reading this are richer than 92% of the world. I also came across a quote by St. Ambrose:

“You are not making a gift of your possessions to the poor. You are handing over to him what is his….The world is given to all, and not only to the rich.”

What we have is not ours to keep. We, all of us, need to be more charitable. If we can afford to buy things we WANT, then we can afford to give to those who are in need. It’s just that simple. And we need to trust. We need to trust that God will take care of our needs so that we can take care of the needs of others. Life isn’t about obtaining worldly goods. It’s about sacrificing ourselves for the needs of others.

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Published in: on November 20, 2008 at 9:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

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