Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? James 2:5
Poverty and the Vision Splendid: Joining with the Poor
The majority of those of us who live in the First World are relatively well off. Yet there is a spiritual poverty in the First World. Whether this is directly related to our materialism is an open question. It may also be related to the way our whole life is ordered, made secure, and made predictable.
More deeply, it may be linked to the gap we have created between what we believe and the way we live. Having turned a deaf ear to the cry of the poor in our own world and having abandoned a discipleship that calls us away from our own concerns, we may well have lost touch with the Good who champions the cause of the poor.
Therefore it is we, rather than the people of the developing world, who need to recover the vision splendid. Nouwen makes a similar observation: “I discovered that the victims of poverty and oppression were often more deeply convinced of God’s love than we are.”
Possibly one way forward for those of us in the First World who long to rediscover a vibrant and relevant spirituality is to join with the poor, not as helpers, but as partners. In this way we may also grow close to the heart of God.
Lord Jesus, show me how the culture in which I live frees me to become more like You, and show me the ways it can keep me from becoming like You.
Holy Spirit, keep me humble, so that I can honor the depth of faith and dependency of all of Your servants, regardless of their wealth.
God Almighty, keep selfish pursuits far from me, so that I can more purely love all of Your children; and display that love through both prayer and action.