"Turning Poverty to Riches"
August 3, 2005Email to a FriendPrint
"Every Word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him." Proverbs 30:5
It is said that the painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso passed through various periods, or extended moods, including the optimistic “rose period” of youth followed by the “blue period” of mental depressions. The latter was for him also a time of poverty, even of hunger. Consequently at this time, it is said, he seemingly got vicarious satisfaction out of depicting people in the act of eating and drinking.
Poverty, with all its overtones and undertones, is the plight of many people in this world. Poverty is often beset with temptations – to be envious, to steal, to despair of God’s mercy, to harbor the fantasy that riches can be gained through gambling.
Christians, too, can be born – or fall – into poverty. What to do? The apostle Paul urges that they stay productive through work, “doing something useful” (Ephesians 4:28) with their hands. Honest manual labor is no disgrace. If necessary, they can ask for help. To fellow Christians who are better off the apostle says, “We want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity” (2 Corinthians 8:1-2).
For Christians, earthly poverty loses its sharp edge when they reflect on their riches in Christ Jesus, their Lord and Savior. The apostle goes on to tell the Corinthians that Jesus, God’s own Son, for their sakes became poor so that through His poverty they might become rich. He writes to the Ephesians, “In Him we have redemption thorough His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Ephesians 1:7).
Keeping this in mind prevents us from passing through “blue periods" when we don’t have everything the neighbors have. And it helps when we, like the Macedonian Christians, seek to enrich others by our prayers, words, and works of faith. Then we come under this category: “poor, yet making many rich” (2 Corinthians 6:10).
PRAYER: Thank You, Lord God, for providing me with your blessings of food and clothing, and thank You especially for the spiritual riches which I receive in Jesus Christ. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)