“Blessed are you who are poor,” said Jesus (Luke 6:30 EHV). That sounds almost un-American. What blessing or advantage could there be in poverty – of body – or of spirit?
James answers that by posing another question: “”Listen, my dear brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom, which He promised to those who love Him?” (James 2:5 EHV).
Paul said something similar: “Consider your call, brothers. Not many of you were wise from a human point of view, not many were powerful, and not many were born with high status…” (1 Corinthians 1:26 EHV).
Not all Christians are poor in pocketbook. Abraham, Job, Solomon and Joseph of Arimathea, to name only a few, were wealthy in this world’s goods. But the ranks of believers throughout history have swelled more often with the poor, the hurting, and the disadvantaged.
The poor are no more righteous by nature than the rich. A poor person may be just as hung up on money as a rich person. It’s just that the poor person doesn’t have any and wants to get it – while the rich person has it and wants to keep it.
What the poor have going for them is that they are desperate. They have nothing. They have no illusions about their condition.
The temptation of wealth, on the other hand, is that it creates an illusion that one does not need what God has to offer. “He who dies with the most toys wins,” they say. They forget that he who dies with the most toys still dies.
Rich or poor, to be blessed, we need to be “poor in spirit,” said Jesus (Matthew 5:3 EHV). Such penitent souls have no illusions. They freely admit: “Nothing in my hand I bring; simply to Thy cross I cling!” The advantages are eternal.