When we refer to the poor as “those less fortunate than us,” what do we mean? While hard work definitely plays a part in where we find ourselves in life, the phrase “less fortunate” acknowledges the fact that chance plays a part in our socioeconomic standing too.
Some of us are born into wealthy families. Others are born into not so wealthy ones. The way our life starts can definitely influence what resources we have and what opportunities (such as a quality education) we can access.
And if that is true in America, a country known for its abundance and opportunities, think about how much greater the impact is in parts of the developing world where paved roads are rare, unemployment can exceed 75 percent and children consider themselves fortunate to eat a single meal each day.
Why is it important for us to grasp this point? Because it helps us understand our role as stewards of God’s great bounty. “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,” we read in Psalm 24:1. But do we actually live as if we believe those words? Do we make daily decisions as if our resources are actually Christ’s to use to bless others and advance his kingdom?
Only when we acknowledge that we are not self-made men and women, can we appropriately respond to poverty and suffering as Christ did – with selflessness compassion. James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” In other words, a follower of Christ is a person who responds to the needs of the less fortunate!
This is what makes us a “good and faithful servant” of our Lord.
As we seek to make a fitting response to God’s grace in our lives, let us allow the Lord to change our hearts – so often stubbornly focused inward – and point them outward. In that way, we can become good stewards as we manage God’s blessings in this world.