October 16, 1991
“Poverty is working a lifetime doing something you don’t like so you can retire and do something you do like... or poverty is having so many clothes, you haven’t a thing to wear. Poverty is eating so well you have to go on a diet... it is having every pill imaginable to cure your body’s ills because you can’t afford to be sick.
“Poverty is being loaded down with toys at birthdays and Christmas and then being bored silly because there is nothing to do. Poverty is having three college degrees and feeling unfulfilled in your job... having two cars, three TV’s and a dishwasher and then roughing it by going camping to get away from it all.
“Poverty is spending money on make-up, deodorants, colognes and designer clothes and still being worried about the image your are projecting...” and on it goes, so says a verse by Waitlye, Mallinnix and McDonald.
In a nutshell, poverty is working hard and longing to buy things we cannot enjoy because we have to work too hard and too long to get them!
First Timothy 6:17 says the Living God “gives us richly all things to enjoy.” So why can’t we find real fulfillment in all these things He gives us? Might it be because we put them above the true riches?
Jesus put His finger on the problem when He said, “That which men highly esteem is an abomination in the sight of God.” Our value system is often based on bigger, better, and more — usually items with a price tag and the cash that will buy those items. Many even think “I’m not like other people: I can be both rich and happy!” In efforts to prove it, they elbow aside God’s value system about money. Notice how unconventional it is...
1] JUST ENOUGH: The writer of Proverbs 30 asked God: “Give me neither poverty nor riches...” He expressed that if he had too much he would deny God, if he was poor he might be tempted to steal and sin against Him.
2] UNRESTRAINED GENEROSITY: Most of us know about the poor widow who trusted God, so much so she put all she had into the offering plate — two pennies. She knew her security was in the Lord, that He would take care of her needs. So she could afford to be generous. Because of the value system she held, Jesus said her offering was more in God’s sight than far larger gifts.
3] CONCERN FOR THE WEALTH OF OTHERS: For our sakes, Jesus was willing to leave the riches of heaven. Giving up what He enjoyed meant that we eventually could enjoy it with Him. It is that kind of heart that God values. (2 Cor. 8:9)
4] RECOGNITION OF TRUE RICHES: “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God...” God wants us to know true wealth: “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace...” The Apostle Paul prayed, “May your understanding be enlightened; that you may know the hope of His calling... the riches of the glory of His inheritance... the unsearchable [riches] of Christ...”
Not everyone grasps for money. The Bible commends Moses for “esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt.” Moses valued obedience over being the heir of an Egyptian pharaoh even though it meant suffering with the people of God. But most people think money equals happiness. They not only put their hope in that which has wings but in something that will not fill the deepest void in their hearts. Furthermore, all the money in the world cannot buy a right relationship with God.
Whether money is elusive and out of reach, or we have a six-figure bank account, when we recognize Jesus gives joy and fulfillment, wealth loses its hold on us. Life in Christ is far richer. When walking close to Him, our hearts never feel the pinch of poverty for we have riches that truly satisfy.