I was walking a rail trail a short time ago and as I walked below an underpass, I noticed graffiti. Normally graffiti irritates me. This time it stopped me:
Poverty plagues many people who we believe aren’t poor at all simply because they have money.
But money doesn’t bring a wealth of joy or a feeling of significance. It certainly doesn’t ensure strong relationships or guarantee love.
I have to admit that I spend more time worrying about money than is healthy. I try to justify it because I work as a freelancer. I never know where the next job will come from. I have no idea when the next paycheck will arrive. And yet the bills still arrive regularly.
But it’s no excuse. I like money because I like what I acquire with it. I enjoy the restaurants where money allows me to eat and the trips money allows me to take. I like how I feel when I have it.
Yet focusing on money robs us of joy. It steals time we could invest in relationships. It plunders our motivation for pursuing our purpose because we fear taking a risk. We stay where it is safe—with our money and the jobs that earn it.
We push people aside to chase the almighty dollar. We don’t have real time for our own family, and even less time to invest in the community that is the Kingdom of God or the community that needs to know him. The lack of community leaves us all impoverished.
Maybe you’re the one feeling unwanted, unloved and uncared for. I’m sorry you are living in that poverty. The reality is you may never get the acceptance and affirmation from the person you’re wish would give it to you.
But you can begin to discover the wealth of community as you instead reach out and give yourself to others. Who else might be lonely? Invite them to lunch. Where might you be able to serve? Volunteer a few hours at a hospital or nonprofit or in your church nursery.
On the other hand, maybe you’re the type who’s running so fast after money and the life it provides, you don’t even realize the poverty within. Look around you. Who are you ignoring? Who needs your time more than they need the cash you hand over? What community is suffering from your lack of investment? Choose to spend your time building your communities—your family, your church, your neighborhood—and watch what opens up in your own spirit.
Connection pays greater dividends than cash.
How are you ensuring your investments of time nourish and feed your hungry soul as well as those of others? Fight poverty. Pour yourself into people, and watch the returns roll in.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.