Poverty & Plenty

The words, “Blessed are the poor” swirl around in my soul like warm breath in icy winter air. It’s the contrast of warmth and chill, joy and suffering, poverty and plenty. One is impossible without the other. 

In the middle of brokenness, failure, and need, there is a healing and reliance – even desperation – for Christ and a community of support that fills up and overflows and spills onto everyone around. Like when Jesus took the bread and broke it and demonstrated the eternal, abundant life that was coming through His very brokenness. In the brokenness, there is abundance.

There is an abundance of life and love and connectedness in South Dallas that I wish everyone could experience. At first it seems incongruous with the level of physical need. Many of our students live in places without heat or running water or a refrigerator with food. And so it is always remarkable to me that when students get a little something, they almost always share it with a stranger on the way home or take it to their families.

The students who have gone without are the quickest to share with others.  And they are grateful for the little things.

  • Last week a student gave me a huge hug after I slipped a package of new socks in his backpack. (Thank you, Legacy Christian Academy!)

  • The high points of the day usually revolve around food. (Thank you, Lunch Bunch Volunteers & Young Men’s Service League!)

Sometimes when I visit communities where resources abound, I ache for young people to experience the connectedness and life-giving love where interdependence is required. I want them to know the richness and texture and depth of our students’ lives.

This week a lot of us will over-eat, over-spend and over-do the holidays. I hope you will savor each bite as if you can’t go back for seconds. And then over-give until you have to go without something you need. Experience the fullness that enters empty spaces.

I’m convinced that God gives us the gift of serving the poor because He knows we will find abundant life there. Not because we are able to help, but because we realize our own poverty of spirit, we are set free from stuff that protects us from need, and we get to give until Jesus is all we have, only to realize He is all we need.