We are proficient at comparing ourselves with others. The guy standing on the corner with a cardboard sign must be poorer than me. The businesswoman in the big house in the suburbs has more than I do. The mom as soccer practice who drives the 15-year-old car must be living paycheck to paycheck. We often rely on external appearance and make snap judgments about another person’s worth.
Poverty encompasses more than just material poverty. We may live comfortably above the poverty line, but may struggle with other forms of poverty. It is easy to look at others and see physical poverty, but there are other forms of poverty that deserve our consideration. God has provided the answer for all types of poverty:
· Social/Relational Poverty – Our broken relationship with others and with our community is social poverty. In God’s plan, He gives us the ability to love and receive love from another.
· Emotional Poverty – Much of the world struggles with emotional poverty. This is often described as a marred identity—low self-worth, feelings of disempowerment, and a lack of optimism. God says that we are all unique and valuable because we receive God-given dignity and worth. Through these gifts, He gives us the ability to see the dignity and worth in others as well.
· Cognitive Poverty – Not everyone in the world can read and learn. God’s Word says that all believers have gifts to offer productive service in our own context.
· Spiritual Poverty – Our broken relationship with God is the essence of spiritual poverty. God’s Word assures us that everyone should be able to experience the love of God, His grace, His forgiveness and restoration found in Jesus.
Ask Yourself: Do I make snap judgments about a person’s intrinsic worth based on their external appearance? What areas of internal poverty listed above are struggles for me?
Suggested Prayer: Father God, I confess that sometimes I evaluate someone’s intrinsic worth based on their external appearance. I know that I struggle with poverty too. My struggles may look differently than those in developing countries, but my struggle is real. Open my heart to accept Your plan for me. Create in me a desire to grow in my relationship with You.
Learn More: Understanding Justice Through a Biblical Lens