YOU ARE NOT POOR
You can develop a false identity. Some of us began life in meagre circumstances. We were ‘poor.’ We were told that we were poor because we were and we needed to shepherd our resources carefully. But we grew up.
Circumstances changed. We had a good education and became able to attract reasonable incomes. We became middle class. But we continued to live out of scarcity when we actually lived in relative abundance. We continued to live from our identity as a poor person.
People who live out of scarcity can develop a poverty mentality in which they are certain they never have enough – even if they do. Conditioned in survival mode they develop a poor person identity that stays with them when they are no longer poor and have more than adequate on which to live. Sadly they are so obsessed with scarcity that their eyes are ever searching to catch out others who they think are getting more than they. Not only do they live a mean existence but they develop a mean attitude to others.
THE RELIGIOUS POVERTY MENTALITY
This is a living parable of the religious person who lives in self-imposed scarcity when God has graced him with abundance. I mean living from the law and old covenant when we have been given Christ as our life.
The abundance you now have is the abundance of Christ as you – Christ come in your flesh to express His Spirit as George and Mavis.
The son of God is who you came from and who you are becoming. Jesus is both the alpha and omega of creation and the new creation – which is you and the entire earth society. Each of us came out of Christ. Each of us are becoming who we were conceived to be in Him.
If we could live from the incarnation instead of the poor man’s gospel of christianity we might avoid the current social chaos, the despoliation of the earth, the effrontery of leaders like Donald Trump and the impotence of the Christian Industry.
You are made to live in God as a son/daughter of God. The mystery of salvation is not mere acquittal of the guilt of bad deeds and unbelief. The mystery of Godliness is that Christ by the Spirit becomes you. Jesus represents you to God and represents God to you. The incarnation means that you are the manifestation of Jesus, of Holy Spirit and of our Father – as a son/daughter.
Peasants of old had a difficult life because they lived out of scarcity. They lived from a survival mentality. Because they expended all their efforts on surviving they had little education and tended to be uncouth, even if good-hearted. They were primitive, bare-bone humans in more ways than one.
Christians can live from a similar poverty mentality. Shaped by the law, they are obsessed with sin – both theirs and the sins of others. They feel short-changed themselves and never able to feel good enough. So they focus on what these ‘others’ are not doing and neglect the pearl of great price who is available to all: Christ our life. Richard Rohr captures the truth well.
“The Risen Christ is the standing icon of humanity in its final and full destiny. He is the pledge and guarantee of what God will do with all of our crucifixions. At last, we can meaningfully live with hope. It is no longer an absurd or tragic universe. Our hurts now become the home for our greatest hopes. Without such implanted hope, it is very hard not to be cynical, bitter, and tired by the second half of our lives.” (1)
You can live in hope and actual improvement because Christ is your life. Even here lack of progress is no disaster because His life is yours in every way. But you do become more gracious and alive. Because Christ is in you becoming who you are and want to be.
(1) Rohr, Richard. Immortal Diamond: The search for our true self . SPCK. Kindle Edition.