Holy Week: The Wealthy King Who Became Poor

life-of-jesus-and-poor-in-spirit

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

“He became poor to show us what true wealth really was.”

Scripture of the Day:

2 Corinthians 8:9

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that although he was rich, he became poor for your sakes, so that you by his poverty could become rich.”

Matthew 8:20

“Jesus said to him, “Foxes have dens, and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.””

Luke 18:22

“When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.””

It is easy to get lost in the mentality of this world system – money and belongings are necessary to make it in this world.  Modern day rulers and politicians try to solve the problem of poverty by many means.  Distributing wealth from the privileged to those less fortunate, welfare, etc.  These approaches are flawed in many ways; the wealthy did not choose to share, the poor do not necessarily appreciate it, and providing merely for physical needs does not change the condition of our hearts before a Holy God.

We flee financial problems like the plague.  It is not comfortable to be in want nor to be so dependent on anyone else for basic human needs.  Being poor is not a coveted position, yet our God Who owned it all chose to surrender His position of prominence to give all He had to those who receive it.

Sometimes when we have all we need, we do not see that we have nothing apart from Christ.  He did not have any trappings to hold Him back from His mission and gave all He had to accomplish the purpose to which God the Father had given Him.  How humbling to consider that all he gave us we will be accountable to Him for how we spent it – all for His glory.  Like Schindler, the German business owner who wept at the end of WWII over how many more precious lives he could have saved with the belongings he owned, may God help us to examine the wealth He has given us now and help us spend it for eternal purposes.  More than that, may we be open and ready to see the spiritual poverty all around us and feed God’s people with His Word.

To those who followed him, He announced he had no home.  To those who were hungry, He fed.  To those who were poor in spirit, He made the richest of all.  We typically want to hide our need.  The shame of exposure of being or owning less than we had hoped is seemingly unbearable, but recognizing our spiritual poverty opens our eyes to see our need of a Savior Who is rich in grace and mercy.

Lord, You own everything.  Thank You for leaving it all to ransom our souls so we could be with You forever.  Forgive us for being so focused on temporal provisions and concerns and not trusting Your provision and seeing our greatest need of all – You.

 

The Poor Among You

homeless-man

Psalm 72:13-14
“He will take pity on the poor and needy; the lives of the needy he will save. From harm and violence he will defend them; he will VALUE their LIVES.”

My heart is gripped whenever I am driving downtown and see, yet again, a lonesome figure standing on a corner, pleading for help. I know what it is to lose my home, to seemingly lose everything. The compassion for these people who have stories of their own washes over me. At the same time, I struggle with how to help them and wonder what got them there and if helping them monetarily will really be a blessing.

This Psalm written by David to his Son, Solomon, speaks of the rule of Solomon, and is a foreshadowing of what the Messiah’s reign will be like, as well. I am struck by the last words in verse 14 which speaks of valuing their lives. In a culture where abortions are on demand, girls are sold into the sex trade, and the sick or handicapped are viewed sometimes as less, we have forgotten that each human being is valued. From an elderly person sick in a hospital bed to a baby in the womb or a homeless individual on the street, each one is precious in God’s sight and of significant value: God died and gave His own blood for each one.

Identifying the need can be problematic. A sign held by weary hands might specify that money or food is the need, but the root of the problem is not so easy to solve. I want to help in a way that is lasting. Instead, I often do nothing – unsure how my contribution can make a lasting impact. Sure, I have made lunches and handed them out to complete strangers, given cash away to people in need, but I want to responsibly give, and not just out of guilt.

While helping the poor among us is a command, it can be complex in a day and age like this. Recently, however, I believe the Lord finally showed me a way I can do this responsibly. A friend had handy gift cards in her purse, ready to help someone she saw in need. She said that CVS and Walgreen’s do not permit gift cards to be used to buy alcohol or cigarettes. Wow – this was such a blessing for me to witness. Then the Lord gave me an idea – the poor and the rich have the same poverty – a poverty of soul. To merely feed someone for a meal would not last through the day, but to provide physical and spiritual provision might have a lasting impact for eternity.

So now I carry a couple of gift cards, $5 each, with a Scripture and a note in an envelope. I do not usually blog about topics like this, but felt that this idea could impact a population if many people set out to do it. We will always have the poor among us – may we be the hands and feet of Christ and not grow weary in well doing. Who knows? Some soul wandering the streets might be on their last day, trying to find a reason to hope. Let’s be that light and keep our hearts tender for each precious life God has pass our way.

Lord, please help us to not grow apathetic. So many people are wounded and losing hope. Make yourself real through your people. Heal our land and be glorified in all we do – may it be an offering to you!