Around this time of year my compassion radar kicks into high gear, and I begin brainstorming how I can help those less fortunate than myself. I don’t know what it is about the holidays that stirs my heart in a new way toward the needy. Maybe it is due to all the pleas in the public arena during the holidays to help them with funds or goods. Maybe it is because I am blessed with so much in my life now, and I know what it is like to live without it. Today, I live with my young family in a gorgeous two-story house in a middle-class suburb of Houston, Texas, complete with a pool and splash pad, park and playground, and gym. We don’t worry about where our next meal is coming from or if the light bill will get paid this month…wow, just realizing this is sometimes still so surreal. You see, it wasn’t always this way. I grew up very poor; not hungry mind you, not cold, but we were barely getting by. It wasn’t that Dad didn’t work; in fact, he worked harder than anyone I’ve ever known. He worked from early morning to sometimes 9 or 10 o’clock at night. Many times he only had one or two meals a day, skipping breaks to keep working. Yes, he definitely sacrificed for us eight kids and Mom and what future he could provide us with.
Dad embraced what I now recognize as a “poverty mentality,” and to this day, he still works too hard. After he invests so much physical labor, and painstaking design and planning, the result is very little reward or pay. I’m exhausted just thinking about how much he does. Now, please understand that I am all for hard work, and having a good work ethic – in fact, I credit my great work ethic to my parents. I’m just talking about a spiritual principle at stake here – the choice between minimalistic mentalities versus abundance mentality.
At the young age of eighteen, I married my best friend and worked two jobs alongside his two to three jobs just to keep bills paid. We were young, just starting out, and the lessons we learned from earning our own way with no parental help was invaluable. But it was still hard. I waitressed and worked retail and he baked bread, flipped pizza dough, and finished his Master’s degree right after our first child was born. However, I had brought the mentality of lack with me into the marriage, not knowing anything different. Now, I thank God I married a man who had vision for himself, his family, and our future!
Even as young Christians, we began grasping a new vision for ourselves; for me, it was through both my husband and the church I was eagerly attending and serving in. Little by little, we began to raise the standard our jobs, houses, and even the people who were influencing our lives. Plugging along, we were never afraid to work for our goals. Juan breathed inspiration into me as he graduated with his Master’s degree at just 25, and then as he began confidently and faithfully looking for a job that would pay him what he was worth.
Over the years, each job has been better than the last, and each home has grown in quality, but been financially manageable. I have marveled at the wisdom and abundance mentality that Juan operates in as he makes these decisions for this family. No matter what our “imprints” from our pasts try to dictate to us about what our lives should be like, they can be overcome by the grace of God, and knowledge of His Word in the area of finances.
Am I saying that to live in God’s will for us financially, we need to buy bigger and better houses, and be on a warpath to better pay grades? No, I am merely stating that although “abundance” is defined differently by each individual, I can tell you that poverty is the opposite of it. True “need” is not His will for any of His children, and He cannot be glorified in the middle of want. Bold statement? I hope so! It is clearly explained in His Word, and He didn’t rescue me from my own mentality of lack just to keep this truth to myself! The provision He is now entrusting this family with is for far greater purposes than my own!
The promises of prosperity found in His Word, keep in mind, have a part for us to play, as you’ll notice in the second verse below. Here are just a couple of the Scriptures stating His will for our lives in this area:
Deuteronomy 30:9 (AMP) “And the Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in every work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, of your cattle, of your land, for good; for the Lord will again delight in prospering you, as He took delight in your fathers…”
Joshua 1:8 (AMP) “This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success.” So, what can I do this year for the less fortunate? What can I give to them that will last after the Christmas meal is eaten and gone, and their kids have outgrown the outfits we donated? I can obey Christ’s commands to:
Deuteronomy 4:9-10 (AMP) “Only take heed, and guard your life diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen and lest they depart from your [mind and] heart all the days of your life. Teach them to your children and your children\'s children. Especially how on the day that you stood before the Lord your God in Horeb, the Lord said to me, Gather the people together to Me and I will make them hear My words, that they may learn [reverently] to fear Me all the days they live upon the earth and that they may teach their children.”
The physical gifts I give now to precious people in need are appreciated and necessary, but I hope to do more with my life than that. I want to see generational curses of poverty and want broken, knowledge of God’s will for prosperity spread to all people, and a deep understanding of abundance and all that it means to us as God’s children replace the mentalities of our past. After all:
John 10:10 (AMP) “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).”
Bess Blanco is a successful freelance writer, speaker and Christian Life Coach currently based out of Katy, Texas. Happily married to Juan Blanco for fourteen years, (though not without their share of struggles!) they are raising their four children, ages twelve to three. Bess writes many helpful articles and blog posts, and is currently working on her first nonfiction book! She excels in home and business organization, motivating and inspiring others, and teaching the Word of God both on paper and in person. Her mission is to positively influence others for God, and be a life-changer through her words. You can read more of her works at her website: www.bessieblanco.com