Anyone who has lived paycheck to paycheck knows what it’s like to fear losing a job. One missed paycheck and things snowball and fall apart. It’s like starting a machine to get the business going. If the machine fails, the rest of the business falls apart and a client looks elsewhere.
I remember when I lived paycheck to paycheck when I was young. There was a time that I couldn’t afford to get my car fixed. I remember pulling up to red lights and putting my car in neutral, revving it up, so it would continue to run. A dead engine and I was done. I had to work with what I had. I also remember what it was like to be working hard at school to pay for school, working outside of school to make a buck and still maintain a healthy lifestyle. It wasn’t easy. I had a support network to lean on.
I mention this because I’ve seen where people are working multiple jobs trying to support their families and still not earning a livable wage to keep their families afloat. Something is wrong in a country where people are working to provide for their families and still living beneath the poverty line.
Many a middle class or rich person is living on the inheritance of those who have gone before them. People who live paycheck to paycheck have little or no wealth to give their children. The middle class leaves a humble sum.
As we develop our arguments about right and wrong, and what is happening in our world, let us not forget that there are those doing their very best to survive and barely making it. One overpriced medical bill, one major cost of a car repair, one rise in an expenditure and poverty takes a firm grip of the mind and pulls one under.
In a capitalist country where people negotiate what they can to survive, it’s a tricky business. If you’re negotiating for pay and behind the eight ball already, you take what you can get. People who negotiate at an advantage knowing this will play that hand, exploiting the situation that advantages them.
I remember in Egypt seeing people who lived in the crags of rocks and nooks of mountains. This is their inheritance. Vying for position in a cool cave to escape the heat, living on the precious livestock and meager means to sustain their families. Still they worship and give thanks for the daily food that’s been given. The land is sand and there is nowhere to go for miles. Hundreds of miles to a city is a lost cause unless they can find a way to be transported, then what? A lack of education and minimal skill set leaves what possibilities?
Families such as these still pray for basic sustenance. Poverty becomes generational unless someone is bold enough to take the leap of faith and venture out.
There’s a reason why scripture mentions poverty over 2,035 times. Isaiah writes, “Beware of man whose breath is in his nostril.” He who lives through the world is attaining through worldly navigation. Such a person is reliant on cunning and deviance. The intentions by which one functions may undermine the moral objective suitable to him.
In turn, a person is living from the realm of fear. That being has assumed a position that works for him. It provides to him from the plenty of this world, but it does not sustain if he lives in the lie that provides. In other words, a being who functions out of fear will reap the rewards of fear. It will also inspire limitation.
It is hard to battle fear when one is limited in his capacity to see opportunity. It is hard to overcome adversity when you’re staring at a bank account that is running on empty. Faith and belief in something greater can fix that, though.
Our friend Isaiah has something to say about worldly thinking. It can be a detriment to rich and poor. Faith in something greater inspires the imagination to pull one up out of the morass of limitation and find new ways to see the world. Not the easiest position to overcome, but those who have lived paycheck to paycheck have seen their share of being saved by goodwill more than once. It is a subtle life in the spirit that welcomes a turn of good fortune.