When we were little, none of us said we wanted to be poor when we grew up. We may not have wanted to be rich, but we certainly didn't want to be poor. With God, it seems that many things are upside down. The first shall be last. The weak will be strong. The poor will be honored. The verses this week discuss believers who are poor and those who are rich. Even though the series is two verses at a time, I am including three this week thus the +1. Here is James 1:9-11.
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. The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all their achievements.
How does God honor the poor? In Psalms, it says God protects them and their refuge. They are basically dependent on God for life. (Ps 12:5, 14:6, 86:1) God is looking out for the poor. They are his children, and He honors them. James tells us later in his book that those who are poor in the eyes of the world are actually rich in faith. (James 2:5) God honors them by making them rich in faith. They see God as their protector, provider and giver of life.
This past month, I read the book, The Insanity of God. The book talks about how believers all over the word have not only survived but thrived in the midst of persecution. By thrive, their faith has grown to where they are stronger than ever in their walk with God. They would be considered poor but in God's eyes, they are honored and rich in faith. I was encouraged to hear their perspective and about the depth of their relationship with God.
In contrast to most of the world, I would be considered rich. I am humbled by the way that God has blessed our family but realize that all of the things in this world are temporary. What really lasts is not my achievements but what God does through me. What really lasts is my relationship with God. It is so easy to forget that what I have is not because of me. I am still dependent on God. It could all go away in a moment's time. I also need to remember that my time here is short. Am I doing what I need to be doing? Would my faith stand the refining process of suffering and persecution?
As I write these posts each week, I am no theologian or expert. I am just writing what I am learning as I go through and memorize the verses. This post was hard to write since I still don't understand fully what it means for the rich to boast that God has humbled them. I do understand that my perspective is changing about what I view as important. In life, it is so easy to focus on the here and now when God focuses on the eternal. I know that too often comfort can become an idol in my life. I crave comfort when I should be craving the things of God. So before I ramble on much more, here is my prayer for the week.
Dear God, Thank you that you are with us all whether we are rich or poor. May we know that all things come from you no matter what our circumstances are. May we be strong in our faith through the ups and downs of life. May the things of this world not distract us from following the straight path that you have laid before us. May you be glorified in all things. In Jesus name, Amen