I am poor in what really counts. I long for it. I hunger for it. I thirst for it. I fear life is just too easy for a 30 something mom in a two-income house in 2012 U.S.A. to really grow rich in faith and Christ-likeness.
I want to embrace the goodness of my God with thanksgiving. I feel like I too easily accept the good gifts of my God and have to fight to make a point to give thanks lest I forget that I live in a house I did not build, wear clothes I did not sew and eat food I did not grow or harvest. But I want to know HIM, not just His provision. I want to live a life of gratitude for HIM, not just what He gives. What does that look like for the can-walk-into-any-Walmart-at-any-moment-and-choose-from-50-different-kinds-of-cereal American me?
Maybe it looks like this:
Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. [Let them] do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. -1 Timothy 6:17-19
Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field.- James 1:9-10
Riches are relative. I’m not rich to some people, to others I am. Compared to the people who labored to build the house I rent, and toiled to sew the clothes I wear, and worked to plant, raise and harvest the food I eat, I am rich.
But I long to be rich in love. I want to be wealthy in a gentle and quiet spirit. I want to have much courage and even more humility. I want to be overflowing in joy. I want there to be a wealth of fruit from the Spirit of Christ being plucked off me. Those kinds of riches won’t buy me Cinnamon Rice Chex at the Neighborhood Walmart. But I’d much rather be too broke to buy my favorite cereal than too pocket-book cushioned to gain wisdom from above. Wisdom that is pure, peaceable, willing to yeild, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. (James 3:17)
I want to be rich like Maximilian Kolbe. He layed down his life to save another because he was rich in Christ. He could give away his life because he was rich in Life. From the sounds of this story, Maxamilian Kolbe was one who made himself poor but had great riches.
There is one who makes himself rich, yet [has] nothing; [And] one who makes himself poor, yet [has] great riches. -Proverbs 13: 7
The Lord has humbled me. I am rich in this material world compared to many, and all my riches and easy life will fade away like a pretty little flower in field. So let me make myself poor by comparison and be a giver, a sharer, storing up eternal things, riches that never fade. Let me lay down my life to save another. Maybe not like Maximilian, but a daily dying. A living sacrifice.
Let me start with setting my mind on things above, where my Life is. In Christ.
Oh Son of God, I would not breathe if You held on to Your breath. I would not live if you held dear Your life. I would be rich but have nothing if You were not THE One who made Himself poor though You had great riches. I would not love if You had not layed down Your life for me. I would not know anything of the riches of humility or gentleness or long-suffering or forgiveness or purity or peace or willingness to yield or mercy or grace or a thousand other eternal jewels worth more than all the world’s wealth combined if You didn’t stoop down to lift me up. So I easily utter the words, “Thank you.” But in my heart deep calls to deep. You know I can’t even express… I’m still poor in spirit Lord! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You for:
62. the taste of Your goodness
63. You bore so much shame to love me
64. Your promise to finish the work You started in me
65. the love spilling drip by drip out of me from Your faithfullness
66. the courage to bend
67. the willingness to yeild
68. the hope that is mine because of You
69. the service I get to give
70. the stewardship I’ve been entrusted
71. the mercy the keeps me from being consumed
72. the faithfulness that keeps me persevering
73. the promise of the Kingdom in my poverty of spirit
74. the filling of my hunger and thirst for real rightness with You!
Let me keep sacrificing (Dare I say that? Sacrifice? The giving up of what? Reputation? Finicky people’s approving looks? YES! Let me lay down those vain desires!) the fruit of my lips giving thanks for 75 and beyond when I wake.