This week I’ve definitely looked at the world through a different lens. After spending a week seeing such poverty and now being back home in my comfortable home and comfortable bed, it’s been hard to wrap my mind around it all.
One of our trip leaders said something on the last night of the trip that I keep tossing around in my head. He said that Wes Stafford, the CEO of Compassion International, once asked this question:
What is the opposite of poverty?
Most of us would answer that question with, “Wealth.” Wealth seems to be the logical answer to that question.
But it isn’t the answer. The opposite of poverty is “Enough.”
Enough to eat that you don’t have malnutrition. Enough healthcare that you don’t have parasites in your stomach. Enough money that you can provide a roof over your family’s head, basic nutrition and healthcare.
We live in a place that has “more than enough,” and quite honestly that makes us wealthy. I’ve never considered myself wealthy in 44 years of life. I grew up in a family that was comfortable, but we would have never been considered wealthy by cultural standards–but we were. Mark and I have scrimped, penny pinched, and done without in many areas of our life over 25 years of marriage and raising a family. There have been many times that we’ve wondered if we’ll make it financially and it’s been hard. But we’ve always had enough…in fact we’ve had more than enough. I just didn’t realize it because I’ve never seen someone who really didn’t have enough.
As you go about your life this week, consider the “not enough/enough/more than enough” equation. Ask yourself where you really fall in that spectrum and then ask God what he wants you to do about that.
God wants us to care about the things He cares about and based upon the fact that He speaks about the poor over 500 times in his Word…there’s no doubt he cares about the plight of the poor and he wants us to care as well.
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I do like this entry. You are right, the opposite of poverty is not wealth but enough…. And God does call us to care about the poor.
I’ve heard somewhere once that at the heart of compassion is being moved to action. When Jesus feeds the 5,000 it says that he had “compassion” on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. It moved him to action — feeding them spiritually and then physically. Perhps it isn’t really compassion without the action but rather pity or something of that nature. Not sure. But something to think on….
Compassion’s Poverty Wheel visually illustrates what Wess spoke about – that the opposite of abject poverty (the hub of the poverty wheel) is enough, which is found on the rim of the wheel.
I definitely have always had enough, even when finances have been slim. Thank you for all your entries about the Compassion trip. I’ve been following a few bloggers who have been on similar trips and they have really challenged me to look at how we can afford to support a child through Compassion. We support a child through World Vision and we’d like do more.
Thanks for this post…I have thought of this question, “do you have enough?” for the past few days…it has reminded me to be thankful for what I have and then to pray for and find ways to help those who don’t.