This morning I’m sitting on my deck listening to the world wake up. I’ve a nice hot cup of coffee with my favorite creamer and I’m watching the hummingbirds come and go from their feeder. I love starting the day this way, I am so blessed. But I wonder how Ed starts his day.
This is the story of Ed yet another face of poverty in North Georgia.
I met Ed last night at Forever Fed’s Canton outreach. Ed is a tall and lanky “country boy” with a care worn face, and a heart that is still hurting from the loss of his father 2 years ago. His father was very ill for years and Ed cared for his dad and saw to his daily needs. When Ed’s father passed away Ed was in a bad predicament, he was jobless with no source of income.
Ed is estranged from his family because he has a long history of alcoholism and is very honest and non-apologetic about his past. A few years back he met some Church folks that prayed for him to be delivered from his disease and he’s been clean and sober ever since. He smiled as he told me it’s a miracle that he doesn’t even want a drink anymore! Each week those same people and pick Ed up for Church service on Sundays and sometimes they even hire him to do odd jobs around the Church. Ed seems to have a good support system and friends that truly care about his well being.
Ed considers himself a rich man. He’s a 50% owner of his father’s home in Canton which has been on the market since his father’s death. He’s proud of his home and his partial ownership of it, it’s the only thing of value he has with the exception of his dog. But in my eyes, Ed’s financial future looks a bit bleak.
Ed lives in a very economically depressed area of Canton in a declining neighborhood of 100 year old clap board homes. To make things worse, he’s had no water or power to that home in many months because he can’t pay the bills. He eats mostly canned foods because he has no refrigeration and no way to prepare meals. His uses candles for a light source and a bucket filled with borrowed water to flush his toilet. The meal Forever Fed provided was the first “hot prepared food” he’s had in a week and he was very grateful for the food as well as the opportunity to get out of the house for a while. Ed took some chicken home with him to feed his dog but he couldn’t take any for himself because he had no safe way to store it.
The coolest thing that struck me about Ed was this. To my eyes Ed is a man living in poverty. He’s got no regular income, no utilities, and his only physical asset is his home and it’s losing value every day. However Ed considers himself to be a rich man. He has a home, he has his dog, he has friends, but most of all he has a God that loves him.
Ed may be struggling financially at this point in his life but he is wealthy in spirit and rich in love. Ed’s God has already delivered him from the disease of alcoholism and provided him with a Church family to love on and care for him. Ed may not have electricity or water but he does know about the power of a living God. Ed’s source of true hope and power is an eternal light and the living water of Jesus Christ.
So I started these blog entries to tell you about the faces of poverty in North Georgia because there are many individuals withsome very large physical needs. What I’m discovering is this.
It would be very easy for those of us who are not impoverished to look with pity upon those who have little to nothing and say what a poor pitiful life they are living. But what I’m seeing is that some people in need of physical resources are turning to The All Mighty God and he is always faithful in teaching, loving, and caring for His children.
Jesus told us in Matthew 26:11 that there will always be “poor”. Could that be because God has never given up on us? Through poverty some are given an opportunity to seek out God’s help because they have nothing and on the flip side, those that have “things” are given an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ. In the end, we all win when we are looking to Him.
Most of all, I am so thankful that God is revealing how Forever Fed appears to be one of His ministries where we all come together to meet each other’s spiritual needs!