I know a woman who does not have much to live on, but she would be offended if I said she was poor. Eleanor does not consider herself to be one of the poor ones. Yes, she has to decide which bill gets paid and which one can “slide.” Her pantry is short on groceries, and her car is not in good running order. Yet, according to Eleanor, she is by no means poor.
According to the U.S. government she is. Her family relies on food stamps, reduced cost school lunches, and they live in government subsidized housing. Eleanor is out of work and her back is a source of constant pain. The few dollars she earns cleaning quickly evaporate. Yes, by government standards, Eleanor and her family are poor. Still, she will not agree.
In the tenth chapter of Mark’s gospel, Jesus teaches us about the difficulties of earthly wealth. According to the text, camels stand a better chance of passing through the eye of a needle than the rich entering heaven. It is better to sell everything, give the money to Eleanor, then follow Christ than to rely on earthly wealth. Our treasure is best stored in heaven.
Eleanor believes this, and she lives it. This humble woman helps the children cross the street as they head off to school. She volunteers her time visiting those who would otherwise be left alone, and she is sure to contribute more than what she can afford when it comes to collecting food for a family in need. Why does she do this? How is she able? Well, because it’s like she says, in Christ, Eleanor is rich.
Give me a generous heart, O Lord, that I may share that which you have given. Amen.
Photo: Making a purchase on the road to Boma, Congo RDC