Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Privilege of Poverty

O, Contentment, where art thou?

“Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword, they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated…wandering about in deserts, and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” (Hebrews 11:38, ESV)

Does this sound like “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life?” Or what part of the experience of these dear saints make up “your best life now?” Sometimes God has a very definite purpose in allowing trials, tribulation, and testing to fall upon His beloved children. Did you notice there is a phrase missing from this passage? I left it out intentionally in order for the suffering, want, and need to overwhelm you of these dear children of God. I thought that would make this statement even more powerful and mind-boggling: “…of whom the world was not worthy…”

The world defines success as large, numerous, plentiful, wealthy, or that you have all you want or need. False teachers pounce on the church at large as a tiger pounces on its prey with the same mind set. False teachers are never satisfied and they are never full, they are always looking to feed the desires of the flesh.

There are times that God blesses us beyond our imagination. God is the epitome of good and goodness. All of our expectations are birthed in the awareness of God’s goodness to His creation and creatures. God delights in doing good to His children. Even in this life God shows His goodness beyond our redemption by giving us diverse and numerous tangible blessings.

But, yes, but what if I should suffer need or want? What if I were to go unclothed or to experience poverty what then? Would my heart be drawn to God’s love? Would I prize God’s love? Would I continue to be, as Paul said, constrained by God’s love? If I were denied all blessings would God remain good?

It is often the demonstration of God’s mercy, grace, and goodness to afflict me and try me with want or needs. The Psalmist said this didn’t he? “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.” (Psalm 119:67, ESV) “It is good for me that I was afflicted that I might learn your statutes. The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” (Psalms 119:71-72, ESV)

It is usually in trials, tribulation, or great testing that we see our sin and begin to develop the desire to be severed from our sin. What is your prayer in times like these? Is it, “O Lord., let me willingly accept misery, sorrows, and temptations if I can feel sin as the greatest evil.” Do we acknowledge the sinfulness of our sin and beg to be delivered from it? Do we acknowledge that the want or need that brings us to cry out for cleansing from our sin as the greatest evidence of Gods’ love for us? Or do we want all the blessings of God available regardless of the condition of our soul?

What say ye?


welcome to my world of poetry said...

Another interesting read Gregg,

Thaanks for the visit and your concern, most appreciated, have just logged on 21.50 British time so have a few blogs to catch up on as I have rested all day.


Kansas Bob said...

Thanks for this encouraging note Gregg! One of my most encouraging thoughts is that the kingdom is invisible and eternal. I get in trouble when I let myself become enraptured by those things visible and temporal.

Lisa said...

That's a hard question Gregg, but there's really only ONE answer. During this past year I have dealt with some really tough things, but I have grown to know my Saviour more and that makes it all worth it. He has kept me.

Wonderful post my friend!

RaD said...

Well I think that if we are honest most of us want God's blessing without the work (honestly who wouldn't). But we are refined through our trials, changed, delivered, made whole again, and it is sometimes in the trials that I find the most peace, or should I say true peace. I doubt the prophets could have done it without that true peace, that promise that more is going on than we can see.

Lloyd said...

God's blessings are just that - God's blessings. Whatever we have belongs to God and when we realize that whether we are poor or rich, healthy or sick, whatever the circumstances; our Almighty God loves us and wants us to love Him. What I am trying to say is this. The peace and joy that we have in our life can only be had through an intimate relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. Any other joy or peace that is brought about by materialism is only temporary. God will give each of His children all they need to accomplish what He wants them to do. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't praise God for all of the blessings He has given too me. God be the Glory. Blessings to you Gregg. Lloyd

Joe Holman said...

The title of your article caught my eye. As a missionary living in the poorest country in North, Central and South America I can tell you that joy is found only in the presence and purpose of God, not in material wealth. HOWEVER, it is my experience based upon presenting the need for world wide evangelism AND helping the poor that the vast majority of North American Christians merely lip agreement with what you are saying while they are consumed with greed, materialism, envy, coveteousness, love of money, etc.

As a missionary, I am avoided when in the States because people think and/or know that I want them to give money to help the poor.

I know that there is a balance, but I find it hard to think that God is pleased with our gluttonous (in food and possessions) lifestyle while our brothers and sisters in Christ, and also those apart from Him, are suffering such need. (Do you know how many people have died of hunger since I started this comment?)

Thanks for your articles. I am reading several of them now.