Water Heaters

The struggle of poverty is evident in major events: repo men and eviction notices. But it is also small things that weigh people down…

Our house came with a 40 gallon water heater. This worked fine 10 years ago for our family of four. But now our family of six, with girls learning to shave and occasionally just singing, the water runs out quickly. You have to plan in advance shower times. No one is allowed to shave unless they go last (or shower in the afternoon). Please don’t start the dishwasher. Still, with precautions taken, some evenings Meg or I am forcing E to wash off soap as the water runs cold. As he screams, we shout at those who used up the water…

Stimulus money arrived in December. We gave some away. We paid Christmas debts. Then we bought a new water heater. 85 gallons. Last night all four kids showered. I ran the dish washer, a load of laundry, and still had hot water to hand wash pots and pans. It was delightful.

Feeling the warm water as I did dishes, I relished the moment. Maybe the only time I have been happy washing dishes! I would not have to plan ahead for showers and laundry… I wouldn’t have to scream at kids… at least not for running out of water.

But we had the money. We had the extra money when our original heater wasn’t up to code (now we have a pretty expansion tank). Those in poverty are left nickeled and dimed in my first paragraph. Their emotions are spent. Their mind is taxed planning things I don’t have to ponder. Not just the water heater, but transportation, clothes, food, warmth… because they don’t have the nickels and dimes, everything is more difficult.

Sometimes the conversation around poverty centers on people making prudent financial decisions. In a better world, pulling out of poverty would simply be making better decisions. But in our world the situation is much more difficult. The whole deck is stacked against folks at the bottom. They must overcome cold showers, dead car batteries, holes in socks, and a hundred other struggles… THEN find a way to get their finances in order from a low paying job.

But God did not intend life in THIS world. He intended a BETTER world. A world without sin, a world where death did not reign. A world where everything grows, rather than decays. But how to change our world? God brought resurrection. New life. New creation. And it is into this new world God calls us. Not just for tomorrow, but today.

So, the next time you are enjoying hot water, take a moment to ponder those without. And consider how we may be a part of God’s plan to bring a better world into their life!


This Sunday is the first Sunday of Lent. Our series focuses on Resurrection and our calling into new life! New Creation. TODAY! Join us at 10:30 in person with masks or streaming on Facebook or Youtube.

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