Pray, Go, Give Blog

Responding to Materialism … Become a Beggar?

Throughout history people have wrestled with the question of how to respond to materialism and the  needs of the poor.  For a variety of reasons there have always been those who have an abundance, those who “make it”, and those that have nothing. Jesus said “the poor you will always have with you”.  The proper response to materialism and the needs of others is one that needs to be addressed more…a worthy topic for discussion and comment below.

I am captivated by the life of Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone; (Saint Francis of Assisi) who had quite a response to materialism, the needs of the poor, and the life that he knew as a privileged member of a wealthy family. He faced the personal dilemma of how to respond to materialism and chose to take a vow of poverty and formed a “mendicant religious order” (mendicant = beggar). He did this as a response to materialisms effects on his relationship with God and to identify with the poor. His life is legendary as he “simply loved God” and gave of himself to those in need. I highly recommend exposure to St Francis so I have added some additional resources for you to check out.

What is God calling you to do in response to materialism and the needs of the poor?

  • I am reminded of the words of Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life… “We are most like God when we are giving.”
  • What did Jesus tell the rich young man who came to him asking what he should do? Apparently Jesus perceived materialism to be an issue in the guy’s life and told him to go and sell all that he had and give it to the poor so he could be free to find true wealth. Matthew 19
  • Jesus was a beggar and instructed his disciples to be beggars. (Luke 10)

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Additional Resources:

Wikipedia - St Francis

New Advent – Catholic Encyclopedia

Book – The Road to Assisi

Movie – Brother Son Sister Moon

The Little Flowers of St. Francis - .pdf


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