Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Paradox of Wealth

The almighty dollar, cash, cold cash, hard cold cash, hard cold cash on the barrel, greenbacks, bread, dough, bucks, loot, money, moola. It’s been hoarded, collected, earned, stolen, gambled, won, lost and found. For some it’s been amassed into fortunes, and for some it’s been the ruination of life. 

And no doubt, all through history, there have been those who are rich, and those who were poor - mostly poor though. Yes, the poor have always been the overwhelming majority. But there’s something very interesting about many who are poor. It's possible to be both poor and rich at the same time! That’s the paradox - a paradox is a statement that apparently contradicts itself and yet is true. How can one be poor and rich at the same time? They are opposites!

Poor yet Rich
This may be your story... "I don't have much, and it seems like I'm just getting by, but regardless, I feel rich in so many ways." If so, you understand the paradox.  

Someone who is poor can certainly be wealthy at the same time - wealthy in blessings such as family and friends, relationships bonded with love. What's more valuable than loving relationships? Loving relationships with friends, with family, with God!

Yes, someone who is in poverty can be wealthy at the same time! Wealthy in purpose, in fulfillment, in joy and peace and hope. Wealthy in blessings from God. On the other hand, someone who is financially rich can be poor at the same time. Poor in purpose, in fulfillment, in joy and peace and hope. Poor in blessings from God. 

The Apostle Paul certainly understood the paradox of having nothing, yet having everything. In describing himself as well as his fellow workers, he mentioned a lot of opposites  "We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything." (2 Corinthians 6:9-10 NLT) 

What a profound statement! "We own nothing, and yet we have everything." Regardless of the trials and persecution they went through, the punishments, the sorrows, and their poverty, they felt they had it all. 

It seems the more we start to prioritize what's really important in life, the more we develop a loving relationship with God, and live according to His ways, then the more we become rich, regardless of our circumstances. And the more we are fulfilled. And the more we can say, we've got it all. 

That's the paradox of wealth. But here's the most profound paradox:

Someone Rich became Poor...so Someone Poor could be Rich

"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich." (2 Corinthians 8:9)

That's right, Jesus who was rich in the Heavenly realm gave it all up, humbled Himself, came to earth in human form, to sacrifice His innocent, sinless life so that we who are spiritually poor, in sin, underserving, could become rich in salvation, forgiveness, and promise. That, friends, is called grace - getting what we don't deserve. Jesus is the source of wealth! And you are the beneficiary. 

So, in this world, there are several scenarios: the rich can be rich, the rich can be poor, the poor can be rich, and the poor can be poor! Ha. 

The question is...where are you? Regardless whether you are rich or poor financially, "I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:13)

May you come to realize what true wealth is, and may you acquire it to the fullest. 

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