Sometimes, poverty doesn’t look like people reaching their hands out asking for a meal. Sometimes, poverty is something that resides deep in the heart. In today’s Gospel, Jesus cautions "woe" to the rich, full, laughing, and praised (see Luke 6:24-27). What’s wrong with having good things in life? Nothing, I suppose, but I imagine that sometimes our focus on comfort and things gets in the way of grace.
My family is incredibly comfortable compared to many of those in our nation and world who are poor in the most practical sense. When I sit on my son's bed and say evening prayers together, I am reminded of how fortunate we are. We have a roof over our heads, safe beds to rest in, food in our fridge and pantry, clothing that keeps us warm, and the means to care for our health. With our most basic needs met, I know I should be turning my attention to my interior need for God.
When I put my own comforts before this need for God, then yes, woe to me. When I let my pride get the best of me and choose to ignore my own faults, woe to me. When I think I can ride on the tails of a sweet spiritual encounter and not make time to sit with my Lord on a daily basis, then yes, woe to me.
Sometimes, poverty looks like being spiritually poor. But there is something freeing in seeing that the hope of happiness is outside of myself. When I can set myself aside and seek Him first, then maybe, blessed am I. When I take on the posture of humility, I can stop thinking about myself and start thinking of others. The Lord has been so very good to me, and I know I am indebted to Him. What a blessed thing to be.
Re-read the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount.
Jacqueline Skemp is a daughter, sister, wife, and mother who endures living in Minnesota after leaving California for her one true love. You can find out more about her here.