reload The Race by Maurice McCracken

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Give me neither poverty nor riches....

posted by Little Mo | Permalink |
Well, back from Relay 2 where we tried an interesting social experiment making some people rich and some people poor, just for a day. Coupled with a great talk on money at a church I was visiting on Sunday night it made me think...

First of all - poverty is hard and it is nasty. On our rich/poor day, it was amazing how I, full time Christian worker and all round professional Christian had my sin revealed. It really helped me understand how mob mentality can take over when there were seconds of chilli at the evening meal. It showed me how likely I am to be jealous and dissatisfied. How impatient I was with people when I was tired and hungry. The majority of the church in the world lives in much less affluence than I do day by day yet remain a goldy upright pillar of truth to the community around it, often the place where people look for compassion and help, and a place where justice will be sought on behalf of others. Fair play to those Christians who deal every day with not having eaten enough, having no caffeine and sitting on the hard ground, and still honour the Lord Jesus in the way they behave.

Secondly - the injustice of the world is so much more clear when it is demonstrated in front of your eyes. One of the rich people said "I felt guilty - but it is what I do every day - I just can't see it." Who cares about social action vs evangelism debates, the way I behave every day adds to the inequalities of the world, which, if I could see them in front of me, I couldn't live with. I have got to change.

Thirdly - I spent all of the day being "poor" praying for strength to go on, taking comfort in the encouragement of others, and being so grateful for what I usually have. It really is true - being rich, as most of us are most of the time makes us arrogant as 1 Timothy warns. Money is dangerous.

My I have strength to pray the prayer of Proverbs 30:8 and mean it -
"Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
Give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise. I may have too much and disown you, and say
"Who is the Lord?"
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonour the name of my God."


Blogger Jonny:) said...

I learnt two things, being greatefl for what i got, knowing other people in the world had much much less
and also still how greedy and selfish i was.
Real eye opener

11:15 AM  
Blogger Andy said...

games can be dangerous - like kids, we play to learn about the real world.

Last year I struggled not to take on an air of 'martyrdom' and become pietistically up on myself - then I realised that being poor, really poor, is no virtue or priviledge: its a pain and its unfair.

It also struck me that the only way in which the rich get what they have is because the poor don't get an equal share - the 'budget' for the few rich was the more that we spent on all the 'poor' that day! Sobering.

The Gospel remains true - each of us must respond to the call it places on our lives, be it in riches or in poverty.

1:36 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

man yeah. it was great in a 'sobering' kinda way. I have never ever savoured a banana quite so much as I did that day, normally I don't even like them! But it did get me thinking, and grief we didn't even have that much less than what we would normally have. Gotta say so the solidarity amongst us was cool, I've never seen donated toast shared out so many ways before!

3:19 AM  
Blogger Sean Clokey said...

I was really struck by how much I am used to eating on a daily basis. I often say its cause I'm a big lad but being honest its just gluttony. I then heard on Sunday at church a talk on materialism from 1 Tim 6:8-9 and was struck how hard it will be to have money and manage it when I start full time work. Scary!

7:13 AM  
Blogger Mikey C said...

I seem to remember really enjoying that day at last year's Relay 2... I wonder why that was...

Even though I was one of the rich kids that in itself was really convicting. I was enjoying it until I realised we weren't allowed to give away our food, and that the others genuinely were having a miserable time. That made me feel bad; and then I felt doubly bad when I realised that I don't feel bad at all about my position in real life. It's so easy to take for granted the things God has given us and pretend that it doesn't really matter. Sobering indeed.

Still, the food was good.

5:15 AM  
Anonymous Liv said...

Who would have thought that half a slice of dry toast would go six ways!?!
I was far from being lady-like and patient when seconds were announced! What an eye-opener...i was prepared to fight even the Clokster for more Chilli!
Scary how easily have have forgotten the 'experience'!
Much to be thinking about.

7:27 AM  
Anonymous dan said...

I am grateful that there is one, namely, the Messiah, who will set the world to rights! One day God's shalom and justice will cover the earth and there will no longer be any poor. Great thoughts.

7:05 AM  

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