Monday, September 19, 2005

# 80: The God of Benevolent Underdogs

“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” Luke 6:20. The question remains: Why are the poor blessed by Christ? And are all the various types of impoverished groups equally blessed? First we must separate them into categories. There are mainly two types. The first type is those whose poverty is beyond their control—they, most likely, are the benevolent. They consist of the physically handicapped; those who through no fault of their own are unemployed but truly desire to work (and are not choosy); those who love God; and those whose poverty is inspired by God. I am sure there are other legitimate reasons for being poor. These are the reasons they are most likely blessed by Jesus Christ.

Then there are the drunkards, the drug addicts, the lazy, and others that are poor because of negative lifestyles/habits. These are the beggarly poor—always looking for a handout from individuals or charitable organizations. Although they are human like you and me, they are unworthy of God’s blessings.

Another question comes up: What types of blessings will they receive? Neither group can go to Heaven without actively accepting Christ as their Lord and Savior. Then, what type of material blessings can they expect? There can be only one possible answer: The first group is more likely to be aware of the need for a Savior than the latter group. What I mean is that they may be more receptive to the Gospel message and have a desire to love God. That may be their only blessing. Is there any better? “Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit a kingdom he promised those who love him?” James 2:5. Then, those who lived vile lifestyles lose both a good life in this world and eternal life in God’s world.

Still, there is a very special group briefly mentioned above that is poor because of being inspired by God. Could this be the special group that Jesus is talking about in Luke 6:20? Let me tell you about their reasoning behind being poor. First of all, they know the dangers of being wealthy and gluttonous. “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.” Luke 6:24. “Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry.” Luke 6:25. Also, they care not what people say about their lifestyle of poverty. “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.” Luke 6:26.

But is there a noble reason for their unique lifestyle? Absolutely. Since they don’t need fancy houses, motor vehicles, or all the other niceties of this world, they can earn a lot less money. Therefore, they can work on a secular job much less than 40 hours a week, and thus spend more time doing the things of God. Of course, in a family situation, there has to be a consensus between all the family members or it just won’t work. It probably will be harder on the children because they may not understand all the benefits of life as Jesus Christ described. One of the biggest benefits is the lack of responsibilities and obligations that things demand. Another is the lack of stress, a bedfellow of those who desire to get ahead in a material and financial way. One particular stress comes because of wanting nice things; therefore, both husband and wife have to work, and that can be a killer, which is common in America today. And still another is the joy of helping those in need when there is extra of whatever. And believe it or not, as poor as they are, there always seems to be extra. But one of the very best things is having no debts, especially credit-card debts. And probably the greatest joy of all is having an all-consuming passion for the cause of Jesus Christ, knowing that their lives are being lived to the fullest.

You may be asking yourself, “How does this guy know all this stuff?” First of all, there are dozens of New Testament verses that tell of the deadly harm of wealth. Many verses preach the absolute need for a life of austerity and frugality so that one can then spend it on the less fortunate and especially on the things of God. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? It could be—true Christians worship a crazy God. From a worldly point of view, He is crazy, but to those who follow his ways to the letter, it is the only life that makes sense. It is called the desire for equality. “Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality." 2nd Corinthians 8:13. The main reason I know firsthand about this type of life is because it is the life I now live. I was a wealthy house-builder most of my life and know all about having money—what it can do and is supposed to do but lacks the power. All the money in the world cannot give a person what one truly needs inwardly. And I don’t have ample time or space to attempt to tell what human words are incapable of describing. Repeating, that inward joy is something the world cannot give.

One might ask why we don’t hear this type message in our church or in the religious media. If you did hear this type of message, there wouldn’t be any organized church. Who wants to hear this kind of message? Christ says that not many do. It is not a message that makes one jump with joy. The Gospel is hard-edged. But still, it is good news to those who desire to live according to what the Bible dictates instead of what the clever clergy says. Just remember this: Being part of the clergy is similar to being in the restaurant business. If you don’t give the people what they want, they will go elsewhere. The sweeter and more convincing their message, the more naive listeners will be attracted. Remember the old cliche: "The devil counts his followers (quantity), while God weighs His (quality)." This saying is truer than we think! So don’t be tricked by big numbers. These easily can be the most truthful words you have read in a long time. I neither count nor weigh. I tell it like it is and leave the rest up to God. I have nothing to lose and much to gain, although I may never know what God will do with these words of His. If, by some chance, there are readers that need more Bible verses to substantiate this unique message, I can give them dozens more. Just leave me a note by clicking on the “comment” section.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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