One morning I woke up startled because I heard the words, “poverty is a life without God.”
Poverty is a lack of the means necessary to meet basic needs. Jesus said, “You will always have the poor among you” (Matthew 26:11). Why though? Because it goes much deeper than just physical lack, it’s a matter of the heart, a mindset that can keep us broken, spiritually and physically.
We are spiritual beings. It’s been said, you don’t have a soul, you are a soul. You have a body. A body of what? Flesh and bones, beliefs and ideas, morals and passions. We can have every dollar in the world and be bankrupt in our soul. Jesus said in Mark 8:36, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and lose his own soul?” It sounds to me, if your soul is in poverty everything else in your life will eventually follow. We can only know each other from the outside in. God knows us from the inside out. I believe it’s very important to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ because, “the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
There was a woman in the Bible who Jesus said gave out of poverty. But how did she give when she had nothing? She gave her heart! Our hearts are worth more than any amount of money or lavish lifestyle. When all we have to give is our hearts, it’s a special thing. Poverty can make us feel we lack things in life, like we have nothing to give. I believe God gave us each special gifts, but we must pursue a relationship with Him to have these gifts revealed.
We feel we lack at life, so when the time comes to share our gift, we think, “it’s not good enough, anyway.” That’s not true though. I believe if we give our gifts to God, He will give us the confidence to share our gifts with others. Jesus said in Matthew 10:27, “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the rooftops.” I don’t think it matters much to God what kind of qualifications we have, only that we have a willing and obedient heart to follow God’s ways.
I think God will let us fall into our own demise if we choose that path and let our decisions run their course. Even if those decisions may destroy us, He hopes in the midst of disaster that we will turn to Him so our souls will be saved! Jesus said in Mark 9:47,“If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than be cast into hell fire having two eyes.” Jesus isn’t telling us to actually pluck out our eye, but He’s giving an example of how serious sin is! If there is something that is causing us to sin, like a bad relationship that causes us to do wrong, we must stop it, or in other words, pluck it out. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
God wants us to live above poverty and sin, physically and spiritually by receiving the gift of eternal life, the abundant life through His Son Jesus Christ! God has given us the gift of life, but it’s our choice to live it!
The writer is a husband, father, preacher, writer, artist, musician and songwriter. Ben and his wife, Missy, reside with their three sons in St. Marys.