On Working with “the Poor”

I like to think of my life as pretty simple and low-maintenance: I don’t really like shopping and, as a result, don’t spend much of my income on clothes, shoes, or accessories. Our house is small and I like it like that. I don’t “have to have” my coffee or Starbuck’s or dark chocolate bar every day. I read a lot of books on simplicity in college and since then, have made a conscious effort to fight against the excess of stuff.

I’ve been surprised, then, that probably the thing God’s been gently reminding me the most of through my job at CRF is my sense of entitlement.

The thoughts like, “I’ve had a hard day so I deserve that $4 latte.” Or when you’ve eaten all of your meals at home the past 3 or 4 days and feel like you deserve dinner out. Or that you deserve a vacation because you’ve worked hard all year. Or that you deserve for my house to be warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

My point is that NOT that we shouldn’t ever buy another $4 latte or never go out to eat, on another vacation, or use central AC again. My point is that at CRF, I interact on a daily basis with a lot of really good, hard-working kids and adults. Kids who work hard at school and get good grades. Adults that don’t squander their money on drugs or alcohol. They were born into poor families, and the lack of education and knowledge and opportunities have kept them from breaking the cycle of poverty (which is what CRF is trying to help change!). So do they NOT deserve the lattes or the vacations and to be warm at winter? And I do?

No, I don’t deserve any of it either. Everything I have is only by the grace of God. The second I start to think otherwise is the second I become selfish, ungrateful, dissatisfied, and an overall unpleasant human. My prayer these days is for God to remind me that everything I have is a gift. And the appropriate response when someone gives you a gift? Simply, “thank you.”

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