Over the last little while I have been around people/organizations that have a deep rooted desire to help the poor and dedicate their lives doing so. I live with the family in Hamilton that was committed into moving into the downtown area to be where they were ministering, which is next door to the third poorest neighborhood in Canada. I just went to New Orleans where we saw people working to get many that were poor (and rich) off their feet and back into their lives. Oddly, the more I have been reading lately the more I’m realizing how much the poor is central to the gospel message.
Now that I am beginning to look for my own place to live back in the city where we are planting theStory I am left with a choice. The decision is deeper than simply choosing a great house which is the best for my money and the best investment. The decision is whether I’m more concerned with my reputation/security/”success” than I am with moving into an area where I could potentially put all those things at risk. So here I am left with this choice of where I want to live, and when I mention the different area’s here in Sarnia where I want to live I get the oddest of looks. Why would you want to move there? But the best house turnovers for your money are in this area. Do you trust the area and the people?
I am starting to realize that society’s norm is so completely opposite of what the kingdom looks like that we have completely created an entire new set of beliefs to comfort us in knowing that whatever we choose is all right. Before maybe someone would choose to live in a “lesser” neighborhood because they wanted to save some money, or maybe it was because they had friends there or they liked the community aspect of it. But now we’ve actually convinced ourselves that we are unsafe and stupid to move into certain areas, thus creating a cloud of judgment for all those that already live there. Now we think that anyone who lives elsewhere in the “nicer” of neighborhoods is better off and we all need to reach to attain where they are.
With all that said, I’m starting to think that the kingdom doesn’t really care what neighborhood we live in. That maybe, whatever neighborhood we find ourselves in we learn to be content where we are and create an environment around us of contentment and purpose, not failure and the need to go one step further. Imagine someone moving into the poorest neighborhood in town that financially didn’t fit where they were, and imagine they were content being there. Now imagine how everyone around them would feel. No longer does their neighborhood become just a step to where they are “supposed” to be but now becomes where they want to be. Our poor neighborhoods are transformed without a cent being tossed at it. Afterall, technically our poor neighborhoods are a hundred times better off than how people used to live hundreds to thousands of years ago. Our poor neighborhoods are very subjective in that we compare them to what our rich neighborhoods look like.
Living as a kingdom person, we are now able to be content when the world around us is striving for more. This means that we can live in what in our world is considered poor and still live as if we were rich, or better. Living as a kingdom person means transcending the ideals that society throws at us saying that we are a certain type of person because we live a certain type of way and receives all its value from Christ. So no matter where we live, rich or poor, dirty or clean, on a beach house or with a flooded basement let us remember that we are always living rich and we can actually be content (not faking it) without all the things that the world tells us we need.