Robert Lupton in Theirs is the Kingdom says, "The deepest poverty is to have nothing of value to offer."
It was one of those moments when you see things more clearly. After reading Lupton's words on my own and discussing it in our "Church and Poverty" class at FBC, a portion of the haze lifted. When a group of people becomes poor they begin to look and act poor. They ask for help, dress differently, and even walk or hold their head differently. When society and the church sees these changes begin our first reactions are to ask what we can give that person, or family.
And after a while we continue to give, give, give, and the warmth we felt on the honeymoon of philanthropy dwindles while wondering why nothing's changed.
Sure, a large part of someone's situation in poverty is the lack of resources, but what if we provided an opportunity for an individual to give and contribute to a larger ideal/cause? Showing those on the fringes that they do have something to offer, and we desperately need it.
To not just feel included, but to be included.
I think I saw Jesus do this a time or two in the gospels.