Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Community Financial Restoration

So, recently I have become involved with a community of belivers who from their accounts are all having a difficult time financially.  The reasons are various including job loss, change in job and thus lower income, birth of child and switch to one working spouse from two, can't work due to disability, basic budgetting problems of spending more than earning, and debt burdens.  Clearly, there are many different pieces at play here, but all centered around financial issues.

The benefit of all of this is that we as believers most often turn to God in difficulty and forget Him during good times.  So, our community is focusing in on God.  However, it is also a detriment.  Because each morning the first thought is a financial concern and in the evening, the last thought is likely the same.  This, I assume (which may be a poor assumption), keeps us from effectively living out our faith in Jesus and helping reach the world.  We're too caught up in our own survival to consider the physical, emotional, or spiritual needs of those around us.  Abraham Maslow says that these needs must be met before we can be effective as shown below:

According to Maslow's hierachy of needs, we must satisfy these needs in order:
Physicial (food, water, shelter)
Safety (free from harm)
Belonging (love and acceptance)
Esteem (self-esteem, confidence fueled by others)
Self-actualization (individual effectiviness)

However, we also find people who reach self-actualization in the midst of adversity.  Another psychologist, Viktor Frankl reached this effectiveness while living in the middle of a concentration camp in WWII.  Clearly, he lacked adequate nourishment for his physical, safety, belonging, and esteem needs.  BUT it was likely that his perspective of these needs bipassed the need.  Said another way, he no longer placed importance or value on these other needs and therefore met self-actualization.

Bringing that back to the community...the financial problems are actually a defiicit of all needs physical through esteem.  So, do we as a community seek to fix the financial problem?  Or do we seek to help everyone change the perspective like Viktor Frankl?  Or do we try to do both and see what happens?

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