In Walking With the Poor, Bryant Myers discusses the varieties of poverty we find in our world. He writes that we are all poor and need others to address our poverty whether it's financial, spiritual, emotional, etc. I may be able to assist someone who is financially disadvantaged compared to myself, but there are many ways that same person can speak to my particular form of poverty. I thought this was an excellent idea when I first encountered it, but living in Washington, DC, has caused me to experience it.
One day not long after moving to DC, my roommate Christie and I were approached by a woman asking for money as we walked out of church. I was usually pretty good at just shrugging off such requests, but Christie couldn't do so as easily. Neither of us wanted to just hand over cash and we fumbled for words. To this day, I don't really know what happened, but somehow the words "dinner" escaped our mouths and the next things we knew, Gloria was walking us down the street to buy her dinner. I was grumpy and felt pushed into the situation, but as the evening went on, I started to realize just how much my heart needed such pushing. During the past months since our first encounter, my heart has been challenged again and again to love this woman.
Today, though, I realized how much Gloria has not just been a challenge for me, but a tool from God to address my own poverty. Since I am moving, I decided to give Gloria my bed rather than try to sell it or store it for the next two years. It seemed like a rather simple thing to do. But as the time grew closer to actually give it away, I started to cling to this possession. My heart came up with so many excuses such as Christie having a matching bed, the sheets and comforters were my favorite all through college, maybe I would need it after returning from Asia, etc.
But I forced myself to give it away. A friend graciously helped me move and set up my bed for Gloria and as we left her apartment waving goodbye, he asked me, "Are you going to miss Gloria?" "Yes," I responded. Thoughts raced through my mind and I came up with many things I will miss about her, but I will especially miss the way having her in my life forces me to hold my possessions more loosely. Knowing Gloria has shown me my spiritual poverty, the way I cling to things, unable to acknowledge that everything truly is God's. I may have given Gloria a bed, but she has given me a new sense of security in the Lord.