Scripture Reading: Numbers 21:14-22:20 / Luke 6:12-36 / Psalm 37:21-31
There is a vast cultural difference between the United States and third world countries. Customs, language and economics are the most notable and striking dissimilarities. The amazing thing is that the prosperous culture of America is regarded as the height of utopia, yet there is a greater invisible and spiritual culture that is present in virtually every culture.
I have seen the poorest people live with greater riches than the richest of people who live in luxury. There are hungry people who eat in greater abundance than the most affluent. People who live in depressing conditions have a greater joy than those who live in ease and security. Despite the persecution, oppression and insults… those who endure such things for the name of Christ will be blessed!
Jesus put it this way, “Blessed are you who are poor; for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.” (Luke 6:20-22)
It is difficult for us to recognize that God has a divine purpose and world waiting for us. Jesus said He was preparing a place for us so we could live eternally with Him. It is easy to place our confidence, desire and security in our prosperous and abundant
lifestyles. I am so thankful for God’s earthly blessings and we can use them for His Kingdom but our attention and desires cannot be held captive by a temporary and fleeting world.
Jesus also prophesied “woes” to those who abandoned the riches of salvation for the comfort, abundance, merriment and favor of this world. (vs.24-26) Just as there are blessings for those who follow the ways of The Lord, there are judgmental consequences for those who reject Jesus and His message of redeeming love.
I have been reminded first hand these last few days that riches are not what you have in your wallet but in your spirit. A full heart is more important than a full stomach and satisfaction is found not in external abundance but in internal blessings. Jesus crosses all cultural lines and brings a life that is “out of this world!”
“Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.” (vs.22) I am thankful I met some precious Cambodian believers whom I will one day live with in heaven. They don’t live like us or talk like us or have the same color of skin as we do BUT they do have the same Savior as we do, the same love as we do and the same hope as we do. Heaven is a place where the poor become rich and the rich find true riches! You have much to rejoice in today…not for what you have here on earth but for what God has prepared for you today, tomorrow and forever!
Pastor James Clark has pastored Calvary Assembly since 1985. He is blessed with his wife Yvonne, six children, two son-in-laws, a beautiful granddaughter and hopefully many more grandchildren to follow!