Ephesians 2:7 - So that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
One day there was a young woman who was interviewing potential suitors. Her only prerequisite in a mate was his having loads of greenbacks.
One gentleman commented quietly that his wealth consisted of 40 acres of land. The young lady scoffed, "That's not much of a ranch. Where is your 'spread' located?"
To which the tycoon replied in a drawl, "Downtown Dallas."
When we see the rich and powerful of the world amassing for themselves the treasures of earth, we may be drawn into the trap of believing that we've been cheated. After all, we work hard too, yet we have little or nothing to show for it. Our neighbor down the street never gets his hands dirty. His only work seems to be a trip to the bank each Wednesday.
"Life isn't fair," we mutter, forgetting that as Christians we have wealth that can't be deposited in a bank. Our inheritance as Christians won't appear on the official listing of our assets when our wills are read. Does that disappoint us? We may say not, but sometimes even Christians allow themselves to envy the wealth of the world just a bit. And there are not a few books by religious publishers that promise readers that God wants all His people to be financially prosperous here on earth.
The apostle Paul protested against this kind of thinking: "But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:20).
As with the Texas rancher, the location makes all the difference. We are heirs with Christ; the Scriptures promise this. Think of what that means. All that belongs to Christ, belongs to us. All that the Father has given Christ is ours! It's ours right now, being held in trust until we arrive, and it will be ours forever. Location? Downtown in the New Jerusalem.
How do we know? The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit in our hearts is our guarantee that we will receive all that God has promised. Again, the apostle Paul: "In Him you also, when you heard the Word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of His glory" (Ephesians 1:13-14).
Cheated? Not on your life. Our inheritance will never be a thing to be grasped by this world. If God's riches toward man were something that could be comprehended, Jesus wouldn't have gone to the cross. One more time, the apostle Paul speaks: "None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, 'What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him'" (1 Corinthians 2:8-9).
It can be easy to get caught up in the way the world sees things, but we take the long view as Christians. And we will not be disappointed.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, the riches we possess now by faith are a shadow of what is to come. Strengthen our trust in You to the end of our lives. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
From The Lutheran Layman, October 1980 issue, "I've Got a Mansion," by Jane Fryar
1. Does the disparity between those who have and those who don't in the world bother you?
2. Can you name three things you think will be part of the "immeasurable riches" of God's grace toward believers in the coming ages?
3. How do you respond to questions about wealth and prosperity when sharing your faith with others?
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