"[T]here is not much discussion of the materialism of those who are poor"

"[T]here are many similarities between the materialism of 'the rich' versus 'the poor.' In both cases, their hearts are set on wealth. However, there is an important difference between the two: the rich have received their reward and their hope, whereas the poor have not."  Neither Poverty nor Riches

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Andrew K's picture

Good read.

"I realize, of course, that it's no shame to be poor. But it's no great honor either!" -Tevye the Milkman

:) 
 

Bert Perry's picture

My truck has been asked to help a lot of people move, and rarely has my truck failed to help move far more stuff than I've got.  Not trying to brag here, but there is an amazing amount of stuff in most poor homes.  All too often, it seems that we've trained poor people to use poverty as an excuse for hoarding.  Nope, the barns parable applies to them, too, I think. 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Joel Shaffer's picture

This is why helping the poor must be done out of the context of relationships so that we can help them identify materials idols in their lives.  When our church has helped people financially (both within the church as well as those outside the church), we have told people that they need to sell excessive stuff that they don't need as a pre-condition to helping them.  One guy that our church helped had an entire sword collection that he got rid of.  Another sold a couple extra flat-screen TV's.  We demanded another person to downsize their cable from a very extravagant package to basic.  Those being helped not only need to realize how to live within their means, but also that if they are going to be helped, they need to have some skin in the game and sacrifice too. 

M. Osborne's picture

@Bert: I have had many similar experiences helping people move or helping people in their homes. Over the years I have started to see mere "stuff" as almost something of an ecological burden on the household, and my wife and I have become somewhat ruthless toward our own stuff, moving it along to someone who can use it when we don't expect to use it anymore.

@Joel: I'm curious if you have any policy or punch list you run through when providing benevolence. I have an ad hoc way of asking about income sources, regular expenses, observing what else might be getting in the way of people making ends meet, but I don't have a formalized punch list, and I think it would be a good thing to make it uniform.

Michael Osborne
Philadelphia, PA

Joel Shaffer's picture

@Joel: I'm curious if you have any policy or punch list you run through when providing benevolence. I have an ad hoc way of asking about income sources, regular expenses, observing what else might be getting in the way of people making ends meet, but I don't have a formalized punch list, and I think it would be a good thing to make it uniform.

Yes we do, and its been very beneficial but I am in the process of revising it again.  We do have them list income sources, monthly expenses and such, but we need to add a couple small things to it that will help us respond even wiser.   Once I revise it, I can make it available.