On Working with “the Poor,” Part 2

Part 1 here.

I usually leave work feeling satisfied. I do have a highly fulfilling job and have the privilege of helping people every day. And now that I’ve been here for 7 months now, I can see our students making educational (whether it be in English or typing or reading or whatever) and behavioral strides, and I’m fortunate to have contributed something to their growth.

But sometimes I feel guilty. I live on “the nice side of town” and can afford to buy organic peanut butter. On a single weekend, I might travel further than our kids (or parents, for that matter) ever have in their whole lives.

I’ve been asking God that my guilt would always motivate me to act. That I wouldn’t see it so much as guilt, but as my duty: to serve those who don’t have a privileged life, “the poor.” Accepting this job was the first step. Now actively loving and serving the kids and moms for as long as I have this job is what God requires of me every day. Sometimes it means cleaning bathrooms and buying school supplies for 100 kids and sometimes it means letting go of my tendency to be a Spanish perfectionist and sharing the daily Bible devotional as best as I can. Sometimes it’s hard and I have a bad attitude, but God reminds me that:

Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more. -Luke 12:48

I may not be able to change the fact that I was born into a white, middle-class family in a wealthy country, but I can make sure that I never start to believe that I’m entitled to a comfortable life because of it.



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