Opposite of poverty

“The opposite of poverty is enough.”

Have you heard us say this before?

Answer first, before reading on. :-)

Wess talks about it in his book, mentions it in The Lie of Poverty video and alluded to it in a blog post.

It can be seen on the poverty wheel, is threaded throughout many other blog posts and can even enhance your body.

But despite all that, my mind still leaps toward wealth when I get the prompt:

The opposite of poverty is …

It’s like speaking another language. I think in wealth — in Western abundance — and translate into poverty.

Is that emotional disconnection or just cultural inculcation? Is it a symptom of something else? A life in transition, perhaps.

Those questions are mostly rhetorical, feel free to address them if you want, but I’m really interested in whether the phrase has any emotional punch for you.

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  1. Jul 1, 2008
    at 6:55 am

    The phrase hit me hard, the first time I heard it. I thought about how much we had/have *beyond*–way beyond–enough. The phrase still hits me some, but not as hard as it used to.

    If we didn’t have what we have, we wouldn’t have it to share, which we love to do.

  2. Stacy
    Jul 1, 2008
    at 7:02 am

    I first heard “the opposite of poverty is enough” when I saw the t-shirt in the Compassion store. Around that same time, I had read Proverbs 30:8-9 where the request is made to God that He neither give wealth or poverty – just enough. What struck me was the fact that either extreme can lead to sin whereas enough for the day at hand will lead us realize our dependence on God.

    I guess if I was asked what the opposite of poverty was on a day when I had not been reminded of this statement or these verses, I’d probably automatically answer wealth. And I know the question of what’s “enough” is something I still struggle with. It’s hard in our consumer culture sometimes to distinguish needs from wants and to truly realize what enough looks like.

  3. Steven Williams
    Jul 1, 2008
    at 10:15 am

    Just the other week, I had my Sunday School students do an exercise to identify the difference between “needs” and “wants”. The opposite of poverty is having what was in their “needs” column. The opposite of poverty has nothing to do with what was in their “wants” column.

  4. Jul 1, 2008
    at 12:19 pm

    Maybe the opposite of poverty is “hope”, at least that is what comes to my mind.

    Hernado de Soto the author of “The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism triumphs in the West and fails everywhere else”, makes a point of saying that the inability to own property and the lack of personal capital is part of the problem.

    The inability to rise above the situation you are in removes hope. Enough is what you can obtain when you have hope and the ability to chart your own course to freedom.

    We live with the hope that we will have enough, many don’t.

    Job 11:17-19

  5. Nicole
    Jul 1, 2008
    at 3:57 pm

    This still makes me wonder… what IS the opposite of wealth – or is there one?!

  6. Jul 1, 2008
    at 4:49 pm

    I have seen people who were physically poor, yet spiritually rich–I suspect you have seen and envy them as I do. In that particular instance, the opposite of poverty is joy, or more specifically, the joy of knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior. If Compassion International were not a Christ-centered ministry, this could not be possible.

    Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need…Is it not yet a very little while Till Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, And the fruitful field be esteemed as a forest? In that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book, And the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness. The humble also shall increase their joy in the Lord, And the poor among men shall rejoice In the Holy One of Israel. Philippians 4:11-12 & Isaiah 29:17-19

  7. Monique
    Jul 8, 2008
    at 7:10 pm

    I came that they may have life and have it abundantly John 10:10

  8. Don
    Jan 23, 2009
    at 11:53 am

    The opposite of poverty is community. (South American writer)

  9. Feb 17, 2009
    at 11:17 am

    The opposite of poverty is not wealth, it is justice – Leonardo Boff (former Catholic priest ordered to be silent by then Cardinal Ratzinger)

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