In today’s First Reading Paul’s gratitude toward the Philippians shows the difference between material poverty, a situation, and spiritual poverty, a virtue. Paul acknowledges that he has experienced moments of plenty and moments of want, and those moments have not driven him to consider himself important or to consider himself victimized; what he has at his disposal is what he has. We can easily fall into the pitfall of not being content with the home, vehicle, or gadgets that we have, even if they were the latest model six months ago. We can also fall into an attitude of resentment when we’re struggling just to pay the bills and provide for those we love, or grow up in poverty when it seems that others always live in luxury. Both attitudes can spread to more spiritual goods, such as our relationships, if we let them. We can get attached to our things or the things of others and lose sight of the fact that everything we have has been given to us.
Paul shows the secret to facing prosperity or poverty: to see that Our Lord can work with both, if we work with him. Paul praises the Philippians as his benefactors because of the fruits of evangelization he has been able to reap through their material support. It not only helps them live spiritual poverty, but it helps advance the cause of the Gospel as well. If we seek to help and serve others, whether poor or rich, we are growing in spiritual poverty and seeking higher goods.
Take stock of what you have today and ask Our Lord to help you see what you truly need and what you can use to help and serve others.