We all have heard the phrase, "the rich get richer." The rich certainly have more possessions and seem to continue to accumulate them. But I wonder just how rich they really are. In our country and culture, we have spent a number of years seeking to consume as much as possible. Consumption--the purchasing of more and more toys, clothes, homes, cars, experiences, drugs, health care--is what actually drives our economy and serves as outward signs of being rich. If the current climate of fear coming from the financial markets integrates more fully into the American psyche, that kind of consumption is going to come to a pretty rapid halt. And when it does, what becomes of a society that has forgotten to live like my friend has? A society that is focused on what it can get for itself rather than what it can give to others simply because we have been given so much?
Every time I am around this friend, I am prompted to look at my own life and see how I can live even more generously. As people of God, we are often taught that we can and must see the face of Jesus in the poor and the impoverished and the suffering of the world. I am in complete agreement with that. Jesus knew suffering and the Scriptures are full of admonitions to care for those left out of societal comfort. I also suggest that it speaks well of us when we recognize that we are rich and privileged--even in the midst of economic crisis--and that others may be blessed when they see Jesus' face in our actions and responses to others. It is a holy and noble calling for everyone.