Elder, David “Doc” Kenser, gives a daily reflection and devotion.
There was a period in my youth when we lived in a four room house: living room, kitchen, and two bedrooms. There was no electricity or indoor plumbing in this little shack, nor was there any insulation. It was really hot in the summer and really cold in the winter. There was a wood stove and one could get really warm by getting up close, which lasted until you moved away from the stove.
We grew or raised most of what we ate, which was supplemented by fish from local creeks along with squirrels and rabbits, who were unfortunate enough to find themselves in our crosshairs. We also received some help from the government in the form of commodities: cheese, peanut butter, powdered milk and powdered eggs.
We were poor, although apparently not as poor as those “children in China who had nothing to eat” my mother reminded us of when ever we might not want to eat everything put before us. I remember making the mistake of saying, “Why don’t we send this to them?”
The funny thing is that I didn’t know we were poor. Even while digging through the county dump for treasures that others had thrown away, wearing my sewed up, patched over hand-me-down clothes, I didn’t get it that we were what some called back then, “poor white trash.” Today, we would have been labeled, “the working poor.”
I really thought we were dong as well as most folks. And, considering many of the people who lived around us, we were comparatively doing OK. If we had owned a TV, I would have known by the commercials advertising all the things we did not have, just how poor we were, but of course I would have had to have had electricity to even plug one if, had we owned one.
The reason I bring this up is not to lament how tough we had it, as I didn’t know we had it tough. I’m sharing it with you to illustrate how one can be really poor and not know it. I didn’t think in terms of getting out of poverty, as I didn’t know I was in it.
As sad as being materially poor and not even be aware enough to try try to come out of it, that pales in comparison to those who are spiritually poor but do not have an awareness. Many live today, blindly going along as if hey are doing just fine or even see themselves as doing quite well – all the time missing out on God’s blessing now and disqualified for his riches in glory:
“You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see” (Rev 3:17-18).