Rich Or Poor: Which Are You?
Rich Or Poor: Which Are You?
Stephen A. Peterson
Samantha was said “to have it all”. She came from one of the wealthiest families in the State of Oklahoma, was physically beautiful, intelligent, smart, artistically endowed, college educated. and married into an equally wealthy family. Together Samantha and her husband appeared to have lived a storybook life that many would envy—billions of dollars, large mansion on the outskirts of town, beautiful clothes of the latest style and fashion, the most expensive automobiles, cabins houses in three states, memberships in the most influential and exclusive clubs, and in time, three healthy, beautiful children. She and her husband also belonged to one of Edmond, Oklahoma’s prominent churches but other than Baptisms and weddings for their children, their faith was more symbolic than a belief in God. Whenever the topic of God came up during conversations with Samantha, God was something or somebody who loved everybody, supported the brotherhood of humankind, stayed out of human affairs, and would allow everyone passage into heaven because God was “good” and would not condemn a person to hell.
Then, while on a business trip to Houston, Texas, Samantha’s husband choked to dead while eating lunch. She suddenly became a widow at the age of 46. The storybook life she had been living came to a sudden and complete halt. Samantha began drinking heavily and having to take prescription medicines to calm her down and to sleep. She was on a fast track to an early grave if not for one of her college friends, Julia. Julia visited Samantha at her house and just about forced her to attend church with her where she found Jesus Christ following many sessions of expressed anger with God for the sudden death of her husband whom she loved dearly. In three years, life was restored. For reasons Samantha could not readily understand, life for the first time ever had purpose and meaning. In her joy, Samantha humbly stated to her friend, “Julia, I really never knew how deprived, sad and poor I was until I came to really know, love and accept the Lord Jesus Christ! I was really dead as a person and Christian and didn’t know it. I was lost! I mean REALLY lost!”
Samantha, unknowingly, had discovered the truth of the first beatitude—Blest are the poor in spirit. She and many who saw her and her life thought she had everything. However, when tragedy came to visit her, she learned how meaningless her Christianity actually was. She also learned she had no faith and that her things and the comforts of her life had greater meaning. When tragedy came she was brought down low. So low that her spirit and person were humbled.
We can be enormously wealthy in material things and, in reality, spiritually deprived and morally bankrupt. The word “blest” as Jesus used it in the Bible means much, much more than just happy. Christ also stated blest means being spiritually complete, one with God, at peace with God, believing, knowing and unconditionally loving God with one’s whole heart and mind. And being “poor in spirit” means being open to what God wants of us, being humble, and giving up a belief in our material self and world. When a person opens themselves up to God’s commands and willingly makes Him first in their lives, isn’t it amazing how we are able to enter His presence full of joy, have an understanding as to who God is, and then be full of happiness and full of peace regardless of age, race, gender, ethnic background or community status? And isn’t it strange when those who do not can’t figure life out?
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I have found in my own life that it is only when a person is 'poor in spirit' that they become willing to let God in. Poor in spirit usually comes after being puffed up with self. Not everyone finds God like this, but it's another door He uses to get us to listen. I am happy to say--I am very poor materialistically (yet not! Okay, not exactly happy but you know what I mean!) but so incredibly rich in all the ways that truly count! Praise God! Great article (also because it is rooted in the Sermon on the Mount-a personal favorite!) Beth