Many have said but many also refute what the many have said, which is this: wealth, prestige, “power”, beauty and all those things we are told to strive for, do not matter. I mean, it may be easy to say this if you don’t have it – you can’t miss what you don’t have. Yet I have decided that this is true. You do not get your happiness from the things you have but who you have chosen to be.
Again, some will say they had no choice in being who they now are and give a fine sermon about how not having, this or that has determined whether or not they are successful. I will agree that being privileged can afford you more opportunities, but it does not mean that you are not blessed. It just means you have been blessed differently. a blessing is unmerited favor from God, while a privilege is given to you because you are within a specific group. The person who is able to smile despite brokenness, be kind in spite of having very little materially and compassionate in spite of all they have suffered or lost, is the person who is truly blessed.
Many of us fall into the trap of wanting to be defined, not by who we are, but by the group we want to be a part of. We are not content with speaking our truth and living that truth but we feel the need to deny the truth for a falsehood that will get us to the top. We become comfortable with being defined by what others make of us. We see blessings only if we are benefiting, only if we have something to gain. Our humanity slowly slips away when we refuse to share in the blessings we have received. That person or persons we see as less than we are can be a blessing in our lives. When we climb down from the pedestals we make for ourselves and really embrace everyone for being one of us because we are all the creation of a higher being, then our lives won’t be based on unmerited privilege but unmerited blessings.
There are many of us who think we have very little. But if we think about it we having been lying to ourselves. When we think about the fact that we have all that we need and a lot of what we wanted, then we will know we have been lying to ourselves. I have been told repeatedly the story of the man who felt sorry for himself, for always being poor, hungry and destitute. Who took a rope climbed a tree to kill himself and ate the last ripe banana he had. Ready to kill himself, he saw a man approach who happily ate the banana skin he had dropped. He decided not to kill himself. The man who had that ripe banana compared to the one who ate the skin was privileged and did not know it. There will always be someone in a worse position than we are. It is not just what I can gain but how can I help to uplift those who are on the ground looking up at me, or, looking across from me. We stumble when we start viewing others from the standard of our privilege and become blind to who they are and who we were called to be. Certainly not the accolades and wealth that we have or hope to attain but when we use our resources- limited or not – wisely,not only to our benefit but the benefit of others. And so we have to reevaluate our intentions by asking: what really matters?
So I leave with this verse for you to consider:
Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.Hebrews 13:1-3, 16