Between Prosperity and Poverty
Graceia always added this sentence at the end of her family prayers. “Remove falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food allotted to me; lest I be full and deny You, and say, "Who is the Lord?" Or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God.” I have also started following her example. Being either in the state of prosperity or poverty leads to profaning the name of God and is detrimental to Christian living.
Recently I read a message from a servant of God. The summary is as follows.
The Bible says that God will supply all your needs (Philippians 4:19). Why should God supply all your needs? The destruction of the poor is their poverty (Proverbs 10:15). Needs in life destroy or kills you.
Many years ago, the newspaper reported a heart breaking news. An eleven-year old boy stood before a judge waiting to be sentenced. The people who had gathered for the court proceedings were greatly troubled because he had done something terrible. The judge questioned. “Why did you do this young boy?” With intermittent sobbing, that boy narrated the cause with eyes moistened through tears.
“My sister, just four year old and I who are orphans lived together. Old buildings and space below flyovers became our shelter. Daily I would put my sister in a safe place and tell her, ‘Darling sister! Please be here. I will go, find some work, earn and get food for you in the evening.’ My sister would be very hungry in the evening but she would receive me with great joy. When I saw her eating food that which I had bought for her, my heart would rejoice. Unfortunately one day none offered me work and therefore I could get no food for my sister. I did not know how to face my sister. With much hesitation I entered the shed wherein we were living. My sister asked, ‘Brother! What have you brought? Please give me. I am very hungry. The whole day I have been drinking water to quench my thirst.’ I told her, ‘No one offered me work today. I could not buy any food for you.’ She shook me shrieked and cried for food. In order to silence and make her go to sleep I took a log of wood and hit her head. Alas! She fell on the same spot and passed away. This is what had happened. I lost my beloved sister because there was no food.”
My dear Friend, poverty kills. It leads you to profane the name of God. Therefore Jesus Christ desires to remove this wretched thing called poverty from your life. Surely He wants to grant you freedom from your needs. Jesus Christ came as a poor person into this earth to grant you deliverance (Isaiah 61:1; 2 Corinthians 8:9) He came to supply all your needs. He understands the agony caused by your needs.
He knew what it means to be hungry and thirty. Even a tree did not offer fruit when He was hungry. (Mark 11:12-13; John 4:6-7) When you look at Him on the cross of Calvary, he had no clothes on His body (John 19:23). Everybody spat at him. People turned their faces away from Him. (Isaiah 52;53)
The Almighty God is crucified with no clothes on His body. (Psalms 24:1 Haggai 2:8)
The One who has all the gold and silver of this earth came and suffered for you without water, food, clothes and shelter. He even did not have a grave and therefore people put Him inside a borrowed grave (John 8:3). Why? He suffered the agony that you are going through. Jesus Christ traveled the path of poverty in the worst of its kind in order to understand the agony of poverty.
God understands your poverty. Therefore be assured that Jesus Christ will surely supply all your needs.
On the other hand, I listened to another servant of God from the other extreme end. He lived in a country where people had no material wants. They led a luxurious life so much so that they never feared God. If they complained of an environment as ‘it’s hot’ they would be made cold and vice-versa. A paper pass enabled them get the best medical facilities available on earth. The only day that they would gather in a church for hearing a sermon that lasted for twenty minutes would be on a Christmas day. Following the church service, they would have a luncheon or dinner along with friends and family members where liquor was served in excess. The meeting time was spent in profaning the name of God. What sort of ministry could you offer these people? Higher economic status has blinded the senses to the presence of the awesome God. Greater emphasis was placed on Science and Technological advances.
This reminds me about what the Psalmist says. “The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God" they are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good.” With nothing to set their mind upon, they make plans for massive bank burglary, mass massacre, gang rapes, multiple murderers and other anti-social actions.
In the former case, there is less or no food, while in the latter case there is excess of food but the outcome is the same. People who are subject to extremes of both prosperity and poverty profane the name of God.
“Graceia is right” I admitted concurring with the words of Solomon the wise. Before ending the family prayers, nowadays, I make it a point to add Graceia’s thoughtful words, “Remove falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food allotted to me; lest I be full and deny You, and say, "Who is the Lord?" Or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God.”
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