Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and nakedÖ - Rev. 3:17
There comes a time in personal affairs when, no matter how well things may have been going, cracks begin to appear in the walls of our lives. We are tried by many crises and, hopefully, we survive by Godís grace to become wiser and more submissive to His will as best we understand it.
These same trying times come in the lives of nations as well. In America we are used to being able to go our merry ways and pretty much ignore what happens in the larger scheme. As long as we can hold a job, have a home and more or less come and go as we please, weíve always been content to, as the Beatles song says, ďLet It beĒ. This is understandable. Most of us were not raised or educated to really peek our heads outside of the American tent. And the structure of our society has for some time now made it so much more difficult for average people to do anything but invest the bulk of their time in making enough money to live that we are too tired at the end of the day to pursue much else.
Yet, the way things are going, some decisions are going to be made for us whether or not we want to face them. My employer, Sony Ericsson, just announced that it will shut down its RTP site next year. Ever since 2002, when the same thing happened to my job at Worldcom, the world of employment has not been a stable one for me. Many people can tell the same story. Employment in this country, which used to feel as dependable as the earth under your feet, is now very undependable even with skills and education.
This is scary. We are not used to being deprived in such fundamental ways. As Americans we are not used to thinking of ourselves as poor. But itís becoming apparent that that is just what we are, and Iím not thinking primarily of money. If a rich man threw his lazy son out who was used to a lavish lifestyle, the son would be poor, not only because his money was cut off but because his mind had not been exercised in the realities of how wealth is created and maintained. Despite his wealthy blood ties he would be forced to learn from scratch.
Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differs nothing from a servant, though he be lord of allÖ - Gal. 4:1
We are being forced to learn from scratch. Not just about money but about the whole scheme of things. Itís not a comfortable place to be. But the worst thing we could do is cling to the old mindset and keep thinking we are rich when we are poor. The so called prosperity gospel is purely an American creation and thatís where it will die even though it refuses to lay down. Itís a time to go back and get the true sense of verses weíve read but never really absorbed.
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Ė Matt. 5:3
Just what does that mean? Itís time to find out. Having to start from scratch in understanding is not comfortable but it is a certain poorness of spirit. The question is will we accept that and go from there or will we heap to ourselves so called teachers (of which there is no shortage) who only scratch itching ears (2 Tim. 4:3).
America was always billed as the place where, if you worked hard, you could be what you want to be. Iím not saying that still isnít true. But itís obvious now that if you work hard you had better also work smart, because everything is designed to separate you from your money and your common sense as fast as possible.
America is also the land of faith in appearance. Thatís why cheap stuff is made to look like good stuff so that one can at least have an appearance of having something. But thatís also the same as being poor and not knowing it.
Scripture says that we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). With whose mind then are we poor without knowing it? If we can face the answer to that weíre on the road to honesty. The rich young ruler, when he walked away from Jesus sad (Mk. 10:22), at least walked away because he really had great possessions.
It would be pretty pathetic not to draw closer to the Lord because of what we think, but donít really, have.