I woke up this morning, got my morning coffee, and settled into my “prayer” chair. I opened my prayer book to the Psalm for the day to begin my morning prayers and this is what I found:
“Happy are they who consider the poor and needy! the Lord will deliver them in the time of trouble.” Psalm 41:1
My first reaction was angst in the pit of my stomach while thinking, “Not enough, I do not do enough for the poor and needy.” As any good Episcopalian who regularly prays the psalms, I break out into my own: “God, I need your presence to guide and show me how to do more.” Rereading the verse a second time causes relief to pour through my body. “Well,” I thought, “all I have to do is consider the poor and needy. That is easy!” Well, maybe but maybe not! I realized that what I “do” for the poor and needy is relatively easy because I do it on my terms and let’s face it, it is a big part of my job. So digging deeper, I ask myself, “What is the Spirit really asking of me?” I think God wants me to reorient my life to continually consider the poor and needy. It isn’t just about doing, it is about being aware of the poor and needy and understanding that there a relationship that exists between all people. And God is calling us to especially consider the relationship between people with resource and those without. I concluded that even though I do a lot for the poor, it really isn’t about that. My mindset needs to change. Through the psalmist, God is asking us to be aware of the poor and needy in all we do. Like when my children were young and I considered them in every decision I made without exception. My life choices still reflect their importance and presence in my life. I wonder what it would be like if I considered the poor and needy like I do my children; important and present in my life. It is easy to forget the poor and needy in our daily choices when they are ” those people,” but more difficult when they become a daily presence in our thoughts and prayers and their lives become important to us.
Becoming aware that every human being and creature God made shares the same earth with its limited and abundant resources is the first step in making different choices. For instance, Californians have been made aware, through the drought, how limited water is in our area today. We talk about it with friends, we pray for rain constantly, even when it is raining, it is a constant on the daily news casts. Because of this, we are all making different choices in regard to our water usage.
So what would it look like if we all became more aware of the poor and needy and considered them as the Psalmists is encouraging us to do? We may see the clutter in our closets differently. Instead of seeing the extras as security for a just in case moment, we can see it as a valuable resource for someone else who needs it. We may be able to see street people who ask for money as hungry and rather than dirty and desperate. Maybe then, we will consider joining with agencies that are creating food security programs that feed the poor and needy. We can consider the poor and needy any time of the day, while we are grocery shopping. Consider throwing in an extra couple cans of nutritious food for the food barrel that supports River City Food Bank and St. Matthew’s food closet. We can simplify our parties, dinners, and lifestyles in general, making financial room for helping those in need which will then lead to spiritual room for our hearts to be changed.
Just consider it!
Faithfully, Rev. Mary