My Problem with Poverty

My Problem with Poverty JPEG1By Rachel Joy

Something that I’ve noticed is that teen writers don’t usually write things about homelessness. And I’m sitting here wondering why I haven’t. You see, my dad has worked with homeless people for most of my life, so why haven’t I?

I don’t know.

Here goes nothing I guess.

You see, my problem with poverty is I’ve never really lived in it. Sure, there were 5 days where my parents were living in a hotel, but that was when they were looking for Miracle Apartment and I was with my grandparents.

I don’t tend to see it has a foreboding looming thing.

My room in Miracle Apartment is right next to the kitchen. If I wanted to at any point of the day or night, I’m free to go grab something to eat. (*sets bag of Sour Patch Kids on the floor*) So I’m not really hungry all the time.

It’s not really a problem for me.

Even though poverty isn’t my problem, it kind of is.

My inner goody Christian wants to say, “And you know what! I’m totally ok with going into anywhere; rolling up my sleeves and helping people break chains and paint floors.”

But honestly, I’m not.

I’m more of, “Hey yo. We can talk, after the mess is all cleaned up.”

“You sick person GO HEAL YOURSELF! I’m a doctor, and I’ll just stick over here, tending to the healthy people.”

That’s incredibly hypocritical of me, and feel free to judge me.

I honestly tend to look down on people who are in shelters.

I’m not like, “Oh hey, let’s be besties!” The same way I am at Youth Group or something. I’m more of, “Let me look really happy and understanding but honestly I don’t really want to touch you and let me use really short answers to all your questions.”

Guys, and my dad works at a homeless shelter. And I even volunteer there sometimes.

I tend to think of myself as ‘better.’

Like, “Oh, I have never done drugs and I haven’t made the same bad choices that you’ve made, so I’m obviously so much better then you.”

Feel free to judge me vehemently.

I forget that I’m a sinner saved by God’s amazing grace.

It’s not that I write a devotional column, it’s not because I go to church on Sunday and it’s not because I know the lyrics to the songs we sing at Youth Group.

It’s because God is good and because his grace has saved me.

A question that my Dad recently asked concerning the story of the Good Samaritan is, “where is Jesus in this story?”

You see, Jesus couldn’t have been the Priest or the Levite, as he was from the wrong blood line for those two. He wasn’t the Samaritan because Jesus was Jewish and not from Samaria. Jesus was the man bloody on the side of the road.

When my Dad pointed this out, he went, “I don’t want that to be Jesus! I want Jesus to be the clean, tidy one! I don’t want Jesus to be the bloody, bruised, broken one… Oh wait. There was that thing on the Cross…” (See Dad! I do listen.)

When you want to see Jesus, you might have to look where it’s dirty and you might have to look in the mess.

Now…I realize that I’m using a lot of words.

I realize that people are busy and that it’s hard to do (and not very comfortable.) But I want to challenge you to do something.

Perhaps if you do have time, and your parents’ permission, you could help lead a devotion at the local rescue mission. It’s not that scary and sometimes people let you pray with them. If you are one of those amazing people with musical ability, perhaps you can offer to play for a chapel service—that way you don’t even have to speak!

One time I went down and painted a little girl’s nails. It was fun work. I don’t know if anyone would remember me if I walked up, but it was impactful nonetheless.

There are loads of things that young people can do to help shelters and food banks. From having a food drive (I’m not actually sure what having a food bank would entail. Probably food.) To going to be a food scooper. (Definition: one who scoops food. I’m not sure what the actual title is so I just made one up.)

If you are kind of like, “Well… I’m not sure what I can do about any of that…” one thing you are totally welcome to do is pray.

Shelter workers are always in dire need of prayer. So many times shelters are places where battles are fought for God’s kingdom and it’s a hard job, so prayer over them is appreciated.

Also be praying for those who are addicted and who are trapped in bondage. The same Grace that is rescuing you would also love to save those who are lost.

Shall we see what happens?

“…If you feed those who are hungry and take care of the needs of those who are troubled, then your light will shine in the darkness…”  ~Isaiah 58:10

~Rachel Joy

My name is Rachel Joy and I live in Washington State (go Seahawks!) I am 16 and I have been homeschooling for 10 years. I enjoy photography, writing, music, and playing with my overactive kitten. I also blog at I would love to hear from you!

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