A Fork in the Road

Posted on January 20, 2010. Filed under: Bible Study, Personal Growth and Freedom | Tags: , , |

Surveys in the United States, for example, show that religious commitment is generally somewhat higher among people with less income (Barna 1991:178-81; Gallup and Jones 1992), and Christians in less affluent countries like Nepal, Guatemala, Kenya or China often are prepared to pay a higher price for their faith than most Western Christians. In Bible studies among students from different kinds of colleges and backgrounds I have found that students from poor homes, struggling to pay their way through college, frequently understand this passage better than those students for whom the road is easier. Feeling impressed by the wealth and status of others, the less privileged students are amazed to learn how special they are to God and embrace this message as good news. Those of us who have attained more income or education would do well to imitate their meekness, lest the self-satisfaction and complacency that often accompany such attainments corrupt our faith in Christ (13:22).

Matthew 5 Commentary from BibleGateway.com

When I read Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” I was struck by the notion that poor has many meanings.

For most of us, we equate the word poor with a paucity of financial resources, hunger and general need.  Yet if you prayerfully reflect on the passage, its probing context challenges you to look outside of the commonly associated meaning to a greater truth that represents the proverbial “fork in the road” relative to our faith journey.

As a one time millionaire, my seemingly natural and responsible focus was on the preservation of finances as a means of maintaining a “comfortable” level of security.  What is ironic is that no matter how much I had earned, the security I sought was always an elusive pursuit tantamount to an oasis mirage in the desert.

In essence, my source of strength and peace of mind was money and not God.  While I am not talking about eschewing whatever financial blessings the Lord deems appropriate to my particular circumstance, I now realize that the true culprit in the “money is the root of all evil axiom,” is not the money itself but is instead the distracting importance one places upon it.

Until this distraction was removed, I would have forever remained blind to the truth of God’s love and mercy and the real power and peace that comes from keeping one’s eyes firmly affixed on the real source of all things and all blessings.  This is the reason why I can now celebrate the tribulations of losing it all, for in line with Luke 17:33 by losing my (old) life I gained my (new and eternal) life.

The peace that comes from this realignment of priorities has freed me to enjoy life in a way I never imagined or thought possible.  In short I am no longer under the heavy yoke of earthy pursuits in which my appetite could never be satiated.  Instead, I live under the responsibility (emphasis on responsibility) of belonging to the family of a loving God, in which my power is through the eternally indefatigable Holy Spirit.

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31, NIV)


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