—Pew-Thian Yap, Ruling Elder
Life isn’t always fair and equal. God created us equally, but not the same. Some are born into wealth and others into poverty. Being born without a silver spoons in our mouths can mean that we are stuck with a bad head start that might limit what we can achieve in life. While the situation may seem unfair, the Bible says that the poor are blessed (Luke 6:20, James 2:5). As I reflect on this, there are a number of reasons I can think of why we should be thankful amidst our state of insufficiency.
Scarcity helps us understand needs, not in the abstract sense but as real personal experiences. A big part of compassion is knowing neediness. Compassion is “suffering together” in the sense that another's sorrow is our sorrow and another's joy our joy. Real compassion does not happen without a real understanding of needs. Who can understand needs better than the needy?
When we beat the odds through extraordinary grit and perseverance, the resulting joy of triumph is unparalleled. We learn to cherish and make the most out of what we have. We learn that everything is to be treasured and carelessness and wastefulness are not tolerable options. We learn to swim upstream against the current. What can be more exhilarating than making something out of nothing in your life?
Our neediness places us in a unique position to help others who are in need. Our “been there, done that” ensures that our remedies for people in hardship are tried and tested. We comfort with not empty words, but with our life’s testimony that can reach and touch the hearts of the needy. Putting ourselves in another person’s place is easier if we’ve actually been in the person’s place.
Spiritually, we are all born poor with the same bad head start. In our spiritual poverty, we are all needy. But we have a Lord who is able to sympathize with us (Hebrews 4:15) because He was born without a silver spoon and had experienced neediness. For our sake, he chose to become poor, so that we by his poverty might become rich (2 Corinthians 2:9), allowing us to be comforted in afflictions and in turn enabling us to comfort those in hardship with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God (2 Corinthians 1:4).