We see video clips of extremely impoverished Christians in third-world countries, dancing and singing with radiant joy, barefooted with dirty clothes and skinny bodies, and wonder how they can be so content.
We have Jesus too, but when those bills and groceries suck us dry, and we don’t have a savings, or an above average car, we get down, at times even defeated. That is because we are believing the lies of this world by those deceived by satan himself.
We believe what they feed us every single day: if you don’t have wealth, you’re a loser and you certainly are not successful; if you don’t have a shiny new car, or designer clothing, you’re inadequate. If you can’t go on sweet vacations, you’re missing out and should be miserable.
But is that what God’s Word tells us? Does not the Bible say blessed are the poor, for they will inherit the earth? Does it not say we are co-heirs with Christ, the very one who owns everything? Does it not say that Christ Himself became poor and was poor His entire earthly life, for our sakes?
Doesn’t the Bible promise everything is ours, and that we will reign one day with Christ, receiving a crown and so many other rewards if we are faithful to the end? Notice, however, that these promises speak of our eternal life. We shall receive material riches beyond measure, of exceedingly more value than the richest billionaire on the planet—when we die and live with Jesus in eternity.
In the same token, spiritually—now, while temporarily stuck on earth—we are infinitely rich, as Ephesians declares:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places …(Ephesians 1:3 ESV)
It goes on to list the incredible spiritual riches we have received in Christ (check it out for encouragement).
And how about those of us on the flip side:
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:25 ESV)
But godliness with contentment is a great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. (1 Timothy 6:6-10 HCSB)
Come now, you rich people! Weep and wail over the miseries that are coming on you. Your wealth is ruined and your clothes are moth-eaten. Your silver and gold are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You stored up treasure in the last days! Look! The pay that you withheld from the workers who reaped your fields cries out, and the outcry of the harvesters has reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts. You have lived luxuriously on the land and have indulged yourselves. You have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter. You have condemned — you have murdered — the righteous man; he does not resist you. Therefore, brothers, be patient until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and is patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the Lord’s coming is near. See, we count as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job’s endurance and have seen the outcome from the Lord. The Lord is very compassionate and merciful. (James 5:1-8, 11 HCSB)
So, although we may—for the rest of our earthly lives—only have enough for our physical needs, we are spiritually rich and will eventually become materially rich beyond measure in the after life when we live and reign in the new city of our God, with new bodies, and a new name. Don’t you like new? Well, if you can defeat the devil’s lies that attack your trust in God daily by reading His promises and putting your hope in them, renewing your mind so you can discern that God’s will for your life is good, pleasing, acceptable and perfect (even if it means having just enough for food and clothing), you will eventually obtain more wealth than you can think of, ask for, or imagine.
John Piper encourages us with some incredible promises to poor Christians here.
May us below middle-class American Christians be content with what we have because we indeed are the richest people in the world.