“Back before we moved here,” Stan commented one morning, “there was an older couple in our church who had traveled the world over. Their age and health became limiting factors so they could no longer make the kind of trips they once did, but they sure had a lot of interesting stories to tell, and they loved telling them.”
“What kind of stories?” I asked. “Where they had been? What they had seen and done? Those sorts of things?”
“Yeah,” Stan replied, “all of those things, but what they really liked to talk about was the contrast between what we have and what we take for granted, verses parts of the world where many people have little or nothing of material wealth.”
“I suppose that really puts things in the proper perspective,” I commented.
“Good supposition,” Stan replied. “In fact I remember more than once the couple pointing out that they thought our country would be a whole lot better off if everyone here would see and appreciate what we have as compared to other parts of the world and stop whining about how bad they think things are here!”
“But that won’t happen, will it?” I asked.
“Probably not from a physical or monetary standpoint,” Stan replied, “but a person can see and help to change spiritual poverty without ever leaving our country.”
“Spiritual poverty? How so?”
“By reaching out to show people they are poverty-stricken from the spiritual standpoint,” Stan replied. “Jesus talked about that in the Sermon on the Mount when He was talking about the poor in spirit having the kingdom of heaven.”
“But if they’re poor in spirit, how can they have the kingdom of heaven?” I asked. “Seems like a contradiction.”
“I think,” Stan said, “that Jesus was talking about the people who come to the realization that they are poor in spirit and choose to do something about it.”
“What kind of choice do they have?” I asked.
“Choose to accept God’s free and gracious provisions of being spiritually wealthy!”
“Spiritually wealthy?” I repeated. “As in choosing to have the spiritual wealth of life eternally with God when the time here is completed?”
“That,” Stan replied, “plus the spiritual wealth of being able to pursue the eternal life of an ever-deepening personal relationship by knowing Jesus and God the Father before then.”
“So,” I said, “a person can choose to go from being a spiritual pauper to being spiritually wealthy? Is that what you’re saying?”
“Not just me,” Stan said with a smile. “I think that’s what Jesus was talking about. People may or may not be able to do anything about material or physical poverty, but they certainly don’t need to remain in spiritual poverty!”
Bible verses to consider:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3.
The poor you have with you always; . . . Matthew 26:11.
And looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him, and said to him, “One thing you lack; go and sell all you possess, and give it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But at these words his face fell, and he went away grieved, for he was one who owned much property. And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God.” Mark 10:21-23.
And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. John 17:3.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you have the solution for spiritual poverty through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Thank you for those who brought me to the truth so I could accept your free and gracious gift of life eternally with you when my time here is done. Thank you, too, for the gift of being able to pursue the eternal life of knowing you and Jesus on this side of eternity. Please help me in following every step of your lead into an ever-deepening personal relationship with you, as well as telling others that they, too, can have the wealth of the spiritual blessings you offer. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you accepted God’s provision for no longer being in spiritual poverty? If no, why? Do you not know it is available as God’s free and gracious gift that only needs to be accepted by faith? If you do have the assurance of life eternally with God when your time here is done, how are you doing in telling other people about how they can leave their spiritual poverty behind? As well as you would like? As well as God would like? If you sense the need for change in your life concerning this, how is that change going to happen? Do you want it to happen? Why or why not?