Thursday, January 8, 2009

Is Poverty an idol?

And do we take pride in being poor?

I have an acquaintance that I run into every now and then, that kind of exemplifies this. I won't mention her name. She claims to be of the Franciscan Brotherhood, and, since I've known her to be trustworthy, I trust her.

Yet, when she visited me some time ago, I got the idea that she was proud of her hand-to-mouth existence, thinking herself holy because of it.

While I understand the Franciscans do take a vow of poverty, I believe they do also believe in working for their bread, or providing some sort of service or labor.

My wife and I tried to counsel her along the lines of finding some sort of work, but we didn't get very far. I asked her, "What can you do, what skills do you have?" Her reply was, "I might be a ____, if I go back to school for it, or I might be..." going on to list the different possibilities, never once truly addressing my question. These answers, I felt, might have been all right twenty years before, when I knew her in college, but I felt, that at this point, they were the answers of a drifter, one who lets life happen to them.

We all can fall into that. For some of us, it's called the rat race.

There's two ways, money-wise, if you're going to trust God implicitly, and both require you to talk it over with God first, and remembering to listen.

A) you can be like my Franciscan friend. No, that's wrong. You can be like George Mueller. He's the person who provided homes and shelter for 500 orphans (as his ministry grew), and his needs, and the needs of the children were fulfilled entirely by God through prayer.

I'm not that brave, by the way.


B) you can strive to make the money, tithe and be generous, be wise in your investments of your money, time and talents, and be productive. That way, you can help the George Muellers of the world.

I'm learning to be that brave.

Both methods require you (and me) to turn our hands to some productive endeavor. I don't think God blesses idleness. If someone can point this out to me, I'll be glad to stand corrected.

And both require you to get it straight what you're supposed to do.

God doesn't care if you're rich or poor, as far as what you do. He just wants to be first in your life, whatever you do.

That's the heavy topic of today. It's time for something lighter.

I should have warned you, this post is going to be all over the map, since it's been so long since the last posting.

Encouraging words: there was a scene from Good Will Hunting (never saw it, so I'm trusting other eyes) that referred to a college student who came in late to a statistics class and hurriedly copied down two formula on the blackboard, thinking that they were an assignment. He didn't know that they were supposed to have been impossible, so he worked on them and solved them.

Some weeks later, his professor congratulated him on solving the insoluble, and made sure he got proper acknowledgement for his work. True story. That man was George Dantzig. Feel free to click his name to bring up the Wikipedia article.

One more, just for fun, is at Just click it, and you'll see. remember it when people say it can't be done. And grin.

Yes, You Can!

(By the way, Happy New Year!)


Anonymous said...


I think you are absolutely right on!

This also reminds me of another syndrome in our society that my wife and I talk about on a regular basis.

The "cool to be too busy" syndrome.

Now nobody is actually trying to be cool by being too busy but I think it is the current way to keep up with the Jones'. If you are not running kids to 14 lessons and practices a week while working 60 hours a week, etc, etc..

They love to tell you how busy they are and that maybe they can look at their calendar so we can get together for coffee.

It's nuts. If you are too busy to just hang out with friends with out having to schedule it in 2 months out then you are way too busy and something needs to go.

I know that isn't just like your friend and the poverty topic but it reminded me and I needed to get it off my chest.

Of course maybe those friends just don't like me...that's a thought.

Oh well at least I have time to curl up with a good book whenever I want.

Dana "Madman" Hansen said...

Thank you.
It is good to find a way to be at peace, if only now and again.

- The Madman