Those poor rich guys! In His preaching, our Lord referred several times to the difficulties of very wealthy people achieving salvation. I wont digress by delving into all of them, such as the “camel through the eye of the needle” reference, for example. Suffice it to say that we live in a very wealthy country, and though we have more than enough poor, the vast majority of us would be considered wealthy by the standards of three of the five continents. Where does that leave an American family, who are by anyone’s measurement, quite wealthy?
The key is for all of us who are affluent to see wealth as a material gift that can be used to help others, (whether by direct charity or through taxation.) In other words, having wealth is not an evil. It is seeing wealth as the purpose and goal of our existence that is wrong.
There is no doubt that affluence does provide extra temptations in our lives. Wealthy people sometimes are not as generous as they could be, or as concerned for those in serious need simply because they do not see them; they don’t come in contact with them.
When our local newspaper spotlights individual, concrete situations of suffering, the outpouring of help is truly marvelous! However, when we lump the poor together in our minds as an amorphous mass, it does not trigger the same response in our minds and hearts.
Churches can do much more to constantly remind their members of the pressing, ongoing needs in this country and around the world. Let’s keep putting a real face on poverty by highlighting specific needs. Is the virtue of generosity in your day to day living exercised in proportion to your resources?