Heart for the Poor
I can honestly say I have never been poor—in my eyes. Coming into a mission organization over 30 years ago we knew we would be giving up many things. We would be called to sacrifice for the sake of the mission. Being young and strong we were up for it.
We moved into a small, un-air conditioned house in a lower-income neighborhood. I learned to only cook with my crock pot in order to not heat the house during that hot, hot summer. It was very difficult to go to the grocery store. I learned to go to the store with only cash; it kept me within our budget. When our gallon of milk got to half full I would mix up some instant milk and add to the gallon. I did this at night, knowing the kids would not be thrilled to find out I was doing this but they never noticed the difference.
A supporter of our ministry bought a small window air-conditioner for us that summer. One of our young adult women who was a part of our church plant bought our daughters little outfits to wear to a gymnastics class (that was half price for us).
Living where we ministered brought with it extra precautions that were not unique to us, but rather unique to the entire neighborhood. If our neighbors suffered break-ins, we were most likely to also. In fact, it was more of a certainty that we would suffer the same fate, sooner or later. During our times of extreme want, I never thought we were poor. I know our neighbors were of the same mindset. They were always generous with us and us with them. Poverty is a category where we place people who have less than we do at that particular time. So to some, yes, we were poor, but to others we had abundance.
Living with little in an impoverished neighborhood does not make you poor. It does, however, help you to identify with those who have less than you at particular times. You realize fairly quickly how much you have and how much you can spare for others. You also realize fairly quickly how much you can learn from those who have learned the art of living with less.
World Impact works among the urban poor to resource leaders and empower them to plant healthy churches in their neighborhoods. We come alongside to resource them, encourage them, equip them and learn from them. It is truly a rich thing to work among those who have less and still have joy and fire for the Lord. What they often lack in resources is made up by their deep faith in the Lord. Jesus had great compassion for the poor. Throughout the Bible we are instructed on how to treat the poor. There is a resiliency in those with less. In my heart I believe our next great revival will come from the poor.