I was talking with a friend about a book that we are both re-reading, perhaps you have heard of it, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.” The heroine of the book is an eleven-year-old girl, she is very poor and her one extravagance is holding her cup of coffee in the mornings to warm her hands, which are so cold in an unheated apartment. The point is that the child is very poor.
As I thought of it, I thought about that fact that growing up our family was really pretty poor most of the time. A preacher’s pay is not great, or wasn’t before the day of mega churches where pastors are driven in limousines, and there were times that he would give his entire pay check back to the church to pay the bills, however we never had a “poor” mentality.
I realized that being financially challenged and being poor is two different things. God always provided for us, when there was no money, there would be someone that brought us something good to eat. There was an event called a “pounding” and I cannot tell you for the life of me why it was called that, but in case you don’t know what that is, it is when people get together and give food the way people bring gifts to a birthday party or a baby or wedding shower. It was very exciting for us kids!
Mother kept our clothes clean and pressed, she even ironed our shoelaces, and the shoes had always a shine on them. One particularly sad moment for her was when she found that my brother had cut out cardboard and put it in his shoes because there were holes in the soles. When we moved to Atlanta we received some good government surplus peanut butter and cheese that came in brown paper boxes, but poor? We never felt poor not at all; it never dawned on us to feel poor.
As I said, God always provided for us and we were always happy. So after going through all of this in my mind, I thought of the scripture that I put at the top of this Blog and when I really studied it, I understood. The Message translation said, “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule.” Read that over and over until it dawns on you, being at the end of your rope you realize that there is nothing that you can do in your own power to change your circumstances, the answer lies in God alone. That kind of takes the pressure off, if you think of it that way. I know there is nothing I can do to make my life better, happier, richer, but God, Who knows all, has the answer, not just the answer but also the solution for my problems, and yours!
I would rather be poor and know that I will inherit the Kingdom of God than to have all the riches and goodies that a kid used to find in the blissfully cool Woolworth’s Five and Dime! If you are poor or just feeling that way just know that you really are blessed!