Poverty-The Misunderstanding

In my 37 years of life, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the story of the “widow’s mite,” but it’s been several. I may have even preached on this passage in Mark 12 at some point, but I don’t remember. The sermons go on how incredible it was that this woman who had nothing, gave out of her poverty. And, in all of those sermons, I’ve only ever heard this passage spoken of in regards to finances. Perhaps that’s true.  But maybe, just maybe, it goes deeper than just finances.

Last time, I shared my initial thoughts on poverty. To be “in poverty” means that one has very little of something. Generally speaking, we almost always refer to wealth and riches when we speak of poverty. But what if poverty was also poverty of grace, worldview,  culture, understanding of race, gender and social class privilege, etc.? And what if we all had poverty in our understanding of God’s love and power?

I believe we are all in poverty. Every single human on this planet is in poverty. Perhaps not in financial poverty as according to the UN, but in poverty of understanding. Or, in poverty of love. In poverty of justice or maybe in poverty of action. I know I am. I cannot understand what it is like being a women in a man’s business world. I can’t fully grasp what it means to be a minority. I can’t have a clear picture of what it means to have absolutely nothing. But, I can try. When we don’t try, aren’t willing to try or think that we aren’t in poverty, this is where we, especially we as followers of Jesus, I think this is where we are blinded by the plank in our own eyes.

We will always have at least two sides of a political campaign (otherwise what would be the point of having elections?). There will always be other ways to interpret data or look at a situation of need. But this shouldn’t hold us back from trying. What we can do is try, try to learn and understand. Try, as best we can, to see the other persons perspective, the world as they see it, to see God in the way that they do.

What if Jesus, in this parable of the Widow’s Mite was actually pointing at the fact that the constructs and oppression of the society the widow was in was causing her to feel as though she had to give all she owned into that kettle? What if she didn’t know she could give less and not have to “keep up with the Jones’?” What if part of her poverty was not just financial, but it was the poverty of being suppressed in a system that advocated bigger, better, more-that said she had to give all she had, even if it meant she wouldn’t have anything to live on? And perhaps this parable is speaking more about the rich and wealthy for creating such a system? Maybe these wealthy were the real impoverished ones. Maybe.

be blessed today


Photo Credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net

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