“…as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” (2 Corinthians 6:10)
As someone has so aptly pointed out, the longest war America has ever been involved in is the so-called “War on Poverty.” It’s a losing battle, as Matthew 26:11 plainly tells us; which is not to say that I am for poverty. It’s just that there are so many underlying reasons for it, ridding a society of it’s blight is like trying to push down all the apples in a barrel of water at the same time. However, there is one kind of poverty that can be remedied; and it is the worst: being destitute of God and the richness He brings to a life.
Verses eight through ten of the sixth chapter of 2 Corinthians are made up of what is called in literature, a paradox: a statement that seems to contradict itself yet expresses a valid truth or principle. I would explain it as the result of looking at something from two different angles or points of view. For instance, if you saw a barn from an airplane, it would seem quite small, whereas if you looked at it on the ground, it might be huge. It’s all a matter of perspective.
With this in mind, let’s look again at the last part of verse ten: “…as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” It all depends on what you consider to be the condition that would identify one as being rich. Which young child is more privileged, the one with affluent parents that he or she seldom sees, or the one with a decidedly middle-class, but attentive father and a, for the most part, stay-at-home mother? Which man or woman is more to be envied, the one with an attractive, but unfaithful mate, or the one with a faithful, loving spouse. Which life is more rewarding, the life lived for selfish gain, or the one lived for God and others? Would you rather meet God as the rich man or Lazarus (Luke 16: 19-31)? Caesar in his magnificent palace or Paul in a Roman prison? Sapphira with her all her possessions or the widow with her mite? See what I mean? It’s all a matter of perspective.
If God has blessed you with some measure of material wealth, be grateful. If it is not ill-gotten, enjoy it. Use it to take care of your needs and the needs of your family, and seek to invest as much as you can in the Kingdom of God. But if, on the other hand, this world considers you to have nothing, in comparison to others, realize this: If you have Jesus Christ, you posses all things. That is God’s perspective, and it should be ours. There is no currency strong enough to purchase eternal life; and without the forgiveness of sins, the richest man or woman is virtually insolvent.
I read a book once entitled, The Richest Lady in Town. I forget now who the author was, but it could have been me. I was asked by an atheist professor what it was that lay behind my smile; and I told him. But between you and me, here’s my secret: I’m rich!
I have Jesus Christ. I have everything.