"Poverty is the result of relationships that do not work, that are not just, that are not for life, that are not harmonious or enjoyable. Poverty is the absence of shalom in all its meanings." -Bryant Myers
I'm reading a book that is humbling me in ways that reveal my own poverty. My own brokenness like a disease, that infects all four relationships I was created for; relationship with God, self, others and creation.
The book asked the probing question, "What really motivates you to help the materially poor?" My first thought was love, of course. But is it really out of love? I love God, but do I love the materially poor? I've begun to realize that most of my motivation stems from the inevitable tension created because of the fall. A quote from When Helping Hurts describes the tension this way,
"Every minute since the fall, each human being is the proverbial 'square peg in a round hole'. We don't fit right, because we were shaped for something else."
That tension is so real. I'm disturbed by the feeling of incompleteness and knowledge of our imperfections, that alleviating poverty stricken communities feels like a solution to ease the tension and heal brokenness. As if, it would some how draw me closer to being in right relationship with God, myself, others and creation. A selfish motivation, that really is only to make me feel better and closer to a world that is right with God.
When I am in His presence and experiencing His peace, my existence feels complete, full of purpose and eternity feels near. At the same time, I recognize the division created by my sin and I feel the same agonizing feeling of incompleteness. The tension remains because in that moment, I'm made aware of the reality of a different world, one that was truly intended and is to come.