It’s another dinner conversation with the little people, and you never know where it will take you. This night the middle child suddenly recalls the Christmas boxes we filled months ago.

Who opened those boxes, he wants to know. Who’s playing with those toys? I don’t know, I tell him, but I’m sure it’s a child far away who might not have opened anything else on Christmas Day.

He absorbs my answer and says, “I’m glad we’re not poor.”

Oh, honey. I’m glad too. I can’t imagine facing dinnertime with an empty cupboard. Every time I dole out another of the boy’s pink asthma pills ($100 for the bottle with good health insurance!), I wonder how some parents do it. I imagine them holding out for the really bad wheezing, hording those pills like gold.

Oh, honey, I’m glad we’re not poor.

But there’s something I don’t like about his comment. Something that doesn’t feel right. Am I sensing a bit of “us vs. them”? As in, we are the ones who fill the Christmas boxes (thank you, Jesus), and they are the ones who open them? Yet I know that when it comes to Jesus’s kingdom, we’re all in it together. No “us vs. them.”

What did Jesus say to the rich young ruler? Give it all away, then come follow me. But, he couldn’t do it. Can I? Will my kids?

I’m not asking my kids to give it all away. I’ll keep on giving them gifts as long as there’s still money in the bank. But, there are a lot of ways to be poor, and maybe it’s time to teach a few of those?

To be poor is to know that you don’t have what it takes.

To be poor is to know that you’ve got nothing worth standing on.

The poor in spirit give it all away because they know it was never really theirs. The poor in spirit willingly let go of everything in order to stand on the Rock. They know that money, good looks, good health, good behavior, none of it is as strong and steady as that Rock.

Oh, my little boy, I’m afraid you’re wrong. We are poor. Maybe not in our bank account (though who knows what tomorrow holds), but we are poor. We aren’t good enough. Or strong enough. We’ll never have it all together. But, there’s One who was and is and always will be.

He is our treasure. Our pearl of great price.


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