The Census Bureau’s definition of poverty is far different than the one most of us would use.
“When the Census Bureau defines ‘poverty,’ though, it winds up painting more than 40 million Americans — one in seven — as “poor.”/1
One commentator noted:
“Most news stories on poverty feature homeless families, people living in crumbling shacks, or lines of the downtrodden eating in soup kitchens. The actual living conditions of America’s poor are far different from these images.”/2
When we look at the definition of the Census Bureau, the portrait of the poor looks dramatically different than we would expect.
Data from the Department of Energy and other agencies show that the average poor family, as defined by Census officials:/3
- Lives in a home that is in good repair, not crowded, and equipped with air conditioning, clothes washer and dryer, and cable or satellite TV service.
- Prepares meals in a kitchen with a refrigerator, coffee maker and microwave as well as oven and stove.
- Enjoys two color TVs, a DVD player, VCR and — if children are there — an Xbox, PlayStation, or other video game system.
- Had enough money in the past year to meet essential needs, including adequate food and medical care.
Someone who has all of these things would be living like a king in most places on earth. Wealth in one area, is poverty in another. The cost of living makes a huge impact and people move around the world to find manageable economies.
The wonderful thing about the Lord is that the definition of spiritual wealth never changes. God is always dependable (Hebrews 13:5). We can always know where we stand with the Lord (Romans 8:1). If we are immersed into Christ, and serve him faithfully, we will never be lost and will be spiritually wealthy (Acts 2:37,47; Galatians 3:27; Ephesians 4:1).
When we gather around the Lord’s table, we need to remember that we were in spiritual poverty before Christ died for us (Romans 5:6-11). Because of his death, we are rich in blessings. The body and blood of Jesus are our ticket out of spiritual poverty and into the glories of heaven.
Let us never forget the price our Lord paid for these blessings.