April 12, 2022 — Growing up Poor

“You remember the other day,” Stan said one morning, “how we talked about spiritual poverty?”

“I do,” I replied. “You put it in the context of some people you knew who traveled and saw a lot of physical poverty.” [Note to Reader: See the posting for March 29, 2022, “Spiritual property.”]

“That’s right,” Stan said. “And, as God is apt to do, if He has something important to tell me, and if I will listen, He often brings the same subject into my life from a different direction.”

“Did God do that?” I asked.

“Sure did,” Stan replied. “At church last Sunday.”

“What happened?”

“There was a guest speaker who talked about his personal testimony that really resonated with me on the subject of spiritual poverty from a different view.”

“Personal testimonies certainly can resonate and help others,”I commented. “What did this person talk about?”

“Growing up poor,” Stan replied. “He described his life as being one where his parents worked hard to provide, that he couldn’t remember ever missing a meal, but that as he reflected on what he had and didn’t have when he was growing up, he came to realize he had been poor.”

“Being poor without even knowing it,” I said. “He must have had a very secure childhood.”

“That’s what the man said,” Stan replied, “but then he talked about the day he did realize he was poor, even to the point of being poverty-stricken.”

“That sounds confusing,” I said. “First he didn’t know he was poor, and then he realized he was poverty-stricken. What was that all about? Things go from bad to worse?”

“Nope,” Stan replied, “just two different kinds of poverty.”

“How so?”

“First,” Stan replied, “there was the material poverty, but he and his family had enough to get by, but then there was the spiritual poverty. The man said he came to realize he was poverty-stricken, a true pauper, from the spiritual standpoint. Not only did he not have enough on which to ‘get by,’ he had nothing. Zero. But he was shown that there is a solution to that kind of poverty and for that he feels incredibly and eternally blessed.”

“Jesus said something about that, didn’t He?” I asked.

“He did,” Stan replied, “and the man who spoke at church said the same thing. He talked about how Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, said that the poor in spirit are blessed to have the kingdom of heaven.”

“But isn’t that only after they have realized their spiritual poverty and have decided to do something about it?” I asked.

“Sure seems that way to me,” Stan replied. “Doesn’t do any good to realize that something needs to be changed, and then not do anything to make the change.”

“So,” I said, “if people realize they are poor in spirit, spiritually poverty-stricken, and they want to do something about it, what are they supposed to do?”

Rather than answer my question, Stan said, “What do you think?”

I paused a little to gather my thoughts, and then said, “How about accepting God’s free and gracious gift of life eternally with Him when it’s time through the finished work of the cross?”

“Good start,” Stan replied. “Anything else?”

“Well,” I said, “I guess people could spend the rest of the time they have on this side of eternity working  out the salvation of the cross through how they live their lives as disciples. How about that?”

“How about that?” Stan repeated. “Just think where this world would be if all of the spiritual paupers realized where they are and decided to do something about it. What a glorious thing to think about!”


Bible verses to consider:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33.

Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it at all. Mark 10:15.

Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who believed in Him, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:31-32.

I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly. John 10:10.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your provision of the finished work of the cross that eliminates spiritual poverty. Thank you for those who bought that truth to me so I could accept your free and gracious provision of life eternally with you when it’s time, along with the eternal life of knowing you and Jesus on this side of eternity. Thank you I was set free from the spiritual poverty that enveloped me. I confess that there are too many times when I do not seek all of the spiritual riches you have for me, but I am content to live more like a spiritual pauper. Please forgive that foolish approach to living this life you have given me to live with and for you. Please help me in following every step of your lead to the deepest spiritual riches of all you have for me. 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 free and gracious provision to eliminate your spiritual poverty so you will spend eternity in His presence? If no, why? What’s standing in the way of admitting you are a spiritual pauper and only God has the solution? If you do have the assurance of salvation and redemption for eternity, how are you doing on this side of eternity in developing an ever-deepening personal relationship with God based on the riches of knowing Him and Jesus? If you sense changes may be needed, how are those changes going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

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