I remember listening to the story of an old-timer telling stories how poor he was growing up. He said, “We were so poor we ate cereal with a fork to save milk, or we were so poor, I had a tumbleweed for a pet.” He even stated he was so poor that “a tornado hit his house head-on and did 10,000 dollars worth of improvements.”
For the new generation, we need to define for them what poor is. When I was in college, rich to me was a full tank of gas in my dilapidated car. I laugh at what constitutes poverty today. How can an individual cry being impoverished when they have the latest Smart phone, new car, and $100+ sneakers. You see when I say I have no money, it means I have NO money.
Early on in our marriage, my wife and I lived across the Connecticut River from New Hampshire. The only thing that spared us from a longer 14 mile trek to cross over, was paying a 35-cent toll at a rickety homemade toll booth at the Charlestown Bridge. I can’t count how many times we’d stop the car and search under the seats hoping we could find an errant nickel or dime to get enough money to spare us the longer trip to our desired destination.
So pardon my empathy when one day I was with a friend who went to an ATM to withdraw cash with the words, “I don’t have any money!” When I looked at his receipt I was like, “Dude, YOU HAVE A COMMA. All I ever have is a decimal point! Really?”
I have a member of my extended family that complains all the time they have no money, yet in the past twenty years, they’ve been to countless concerts, bought fancy outdoor grills, cars, and home accessories. The “Good Book” tells me I can’t covet, so I won’t. But don’t tell me how poor you are when three-quarters of my marriage, eating out was defined as scarfing down a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a blanket in my back yard.
Maybe we need to ponder what rich is! Let me see, if you have at least two good friends, a loving partner, a car with a full tank of gas and a full refrigerator, then you are more than wealthy. You are radically blessed. When I open our check book this week and see my decimal not a comma, I’ll remember the words my wife quotes often to me from Proverbs 31:10 concerning a good wife (which she is), “She is more precious than rubies.” Then in that case honey, I’m a wealthy, wealthy, man!