Who decided what poverty looks like? Who drew the line in the sand between the “have’s” and the “have not’s?”
I’m sure there is some scientific reasoning behind it all. Something about how Poverty is generally the scarcity or the state of one who lacks a certain amount of material possessions or money. That its a multifaceted concept, which includes social, economic, and/or political elements. But breaking it down to an everyday level, Poverty is most often tied to money and resources and that lack of them. Yet, for me today, surrounded by the very definition of poverty I met some of the richest people on earth.
Today I met Teye (pronounced Tay) who is one of the richest people on earth.
She shares a bed room nearly identical to the size of the bedroom my wife and I have converted into a nursery for my soon to be born son, Dominic. But unlike Dominic, who will have this 10×10 room to call his own, Teye and her family of 7 share this space. They have one bed, some space on the floor for eating/sharing meals, some small shelves and a chair.
Teye, is not “rich” in our sense of the word. But she is, in the spiritual sense.
I watched her speak about her big dreams to be a banker in the city, studying in school and going off to college. I watched her smile from ear to ear as we prayed for her and her family and being so gracious to us as we stumbled through some words in her native tongue.
As we prepared to leave we left her family a large bag of food and provisions from the Compassion Project and I noticed that little Teye took a small bag of cookies. In my head I thought, “Good for her, get your cookies girl, enjoy them” as I chuckled to myself. I was happy to see her so happy.
Then she did something that floored me.
As we walked back to the main group she had eaten a few cookies for herself, but as soon as she saw her friends she ran to them and immediately began sharing her gift with her friends.
I don’t know about you, but every time I’ve every gotten a raise my first thought and only thoughts revolved around how I am going to use it, spend it, save it, KEEP IT FOR MYSELF. Teye today, got a “raise” and took something for herself to enjoy, but then she gave to those who were currently less fortunate that herself.
Who was rich in this moment? Was it me with pockets holding my wallet, my fancy iPhone, my name brand polo shirts and my Nike shoes -or- was it Teye in her tattered orange uniform, no shoes on and dirt covered feet?
I vote for Teye.
Her heart in that moment was bigger than mine, because from her lack and from her need she still gave to help those who had less than she did. My heart broke knowing that I am far more selfish than Teye is and I have far more to give than she does.
Hope Happens when we take stock of all God has blessed us with and then use those things to bless others. We are so humanly rich yet so spiritually poor. While Teye may never have the zero’s in her bank account that Bill Gates does, her heart demonstrated what it means to really be rich in a way money never will.
You can meet Teye along with hundreds of other children waiting to be sponsored through Compassion now at WAYFM.com.
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