When you’re born poor, success seems to carry a high price tag. Everything seems to cost money–more than you have. Even the effort can seem overwhelming. Your role models know how to stay in or near poverty; they’ve been doing it all their lives. And there are more than one kind of poverty. There is the lack of material possessions, and there is the poverty of the soul. The lack of material possessions hasn’t kept good people down, but poverty of the soul does. The hopelessness, the bitter, the poor character leach a person of their ability to rise above circumstances.
The price of getting on one’s feet can be seen in the “life work” of doing well in school, wearing adequate clothes, treating others with respect and honor, keeping your word when it costs, and setting goals for the future. Many want to take short-cuts or drop out. They say, “I’ll have some fun instead of all that “doing good.”
I have been studying statistics, pouring over databases, and reading census figures as I learn how to write grant proposals. People and foundations who give money want facts and figures showing how their gifts are needed and will actually help people. And I’m seeing the hard fact that failing has an even higher price in economics, social success, and quality of life. It costs over double to house a young person in jail as it does the cost to keep them in school. Sixty seven percent of people in jails are school drop outs. If they don’t go to jail, it costs society for Medicaid, welfare, food stamps; and many live in shelters or transitional housing. Unemployment is high and wages are low. Not to mention what it does to their pride and dignity of not being a functioning part of society.
Jesus had some words for those in hard times.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
If a person wants to be a beautiful specimen of humanity, He will give them everything to takes for that to happen. They just have to get to their feet and follow Him.