Here are five things you may or may not encounter when you meet the story behind the face of poverty.
1. Our humanity is something we all share in common. In our humanity we share a common brokenness no matter what our socio-economic standing. To ‘serve’ the ‘poor’ as someone who is greater than the ‘other’ is to reject this notion. Any worldview that assumes a humanity that is materialistically wealthy is greater than the materially poor is debilitating and completely misses the point. This attitude rejects the humanity in those who are poor and live in poverty. A stark reminder that God’s love transcends barriers.
2. People are extremely resilient and creative. It is humbling to hear of what devastating problems actually look like, and inspiring to hear how people survive in the midst of it all.
3. Those who live in poverty are the hardest working people you will ever meet. The stereotype suggesting that those in poverty are just lazy is debilitating and down right insulting to the single mom who works the minimum wage job in a courageous effort to put food on the table and shelter for her family.
4. Hearing the story of poverty from a child will Break. Your. Heart.
5. Some of the poorest people in the world are the richest.
I strongly encourage you to dare cross the socio-economic barriers our culture has presented before us and relate with those who are homeless or live in poverty. Your list will likely be different than mine, but your worldview will change as if it were orienting itself into the compassionate heart of a missional God.
What prevents you from serving beside, and walking with, the poor and homeless? What have you seen or heard as you serve in this way? What have you encountered?