A few years ago I met a homeless man, named Aaron. Aaron wouldn’t say he was homeless but instead, he’d say he’s houseless. He and his dog were used to living outside and on their own. In other words, Aaron had chosen poverty as his lifestyle. He didn’t yearn for more, but only just enough to get by each new day. He had little to no envy for guys like me or even a desire to acquire more than he could carry in his backpack or bedroll.
Maybe Aaron had chosen a better way. He chose poverty long ago.
As our economy is slipping away, banks failing, and baby formula scarcity, Aaron has learned to live without, while we cling to what we have. Now, he’s watching men like us lose everything. He’s witnessing our agony and hearing our complaining and woes.
For Aaron, he has known no difference and no loss, because he had little investment in the world, and therefore, the world has taken little from him. Amazing! Now, it is Aaron who speaks wisdom. Not necessarily with words, but with his life. He chooses a better way. He’s become, my counselor, cheerleader, and advocate.
Our pain and hardship are not the sharpening of steel or the clanging of iron; it’s not the heated furnace, the violent remaking, reshaping of our lives, but the hand of correction ripping the world out of us.
Why? It is because we are true sons. It is because God is our True Father, and he desires that we live no longer in the World. We stink of worldliness. Our attics, garages, storage rentals, living rooms, game, and family rooms are witnesses of this fact.
We are in it deep. Oh man, does it hurt to watch these things disappear; house-by-house, boat-by-boat, car-by-car, credit-card-by-credit-card; life!?
The World gives, and the World taketh away.
The truth: because we are true sons, and God our True Father, he is choosing for us. We stinketh of the world, we stinketh of “flesh,” and if we truly want the presence of our Father, we must be baptized in the Fire of His Holiness! We must be pure because he is pure.
We must repent of our worldliness, the sooner the better. To chose poverty is a better process than being overcome by poverty. You will like it better.
“If you want to give it all you’ve got,” Jesus replied, “go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in heaven. Then come follow me.”That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crest-fallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn’t bear to let go. Matthew 19:21-22 (The Message)
The virtue of poverty is more beautiful, more stunning to Poppa God than the finest fashions the world offers. For through a lesser garment, He can see the radiance of his Son, Jesus, and, therefore, so can the World.
Before, the World could only see the world in our lives. Heaven was at a loss because of the riches we adorned ourselves with, masked the greatest gift a father could bestow, the Glory of the Son. The radiances of Jesus are muted by our worldliness.
We shall soon be better dressed. Poverty is the latest fashion but seldom chosen. Not the poverty of what the world would think. But, the poverty of Christ. The setting aside of all his rights as God, to become a simple man, shows us that simple men can change the world. To confound the Wise. To sap the strength of the Strong. To confuse the Sophisticates. To baffle the Wealthy. To enrage the Religious. To magnify Christ. To point to Heaven. To reveal True Life, Real Living. To unveil True Freedom. To bring us to our True Father.
This world is not our home, never was, and never will be. We’re Evangelical Sojourners. The sooner we evangelize, the sooner we will journey home, our True Home.
“If the walls of your life have boxed you in, then kick the walls down, and make a dance floor!” – You Got To Keep Dancing – By Tim Hansel
Oh, how freeing it is to dance in open spaces. How much more we can see God when our lives are less cluttered with junk? Let’s get changed, let’s dance!
Don’t confuse worldly poverty with spiritual poverty. They are not the same. Those who choose spiritual poverty, are the wealthiest of all. Their investments are held in the security of heaven’s gates. Their wealth will never end and will never know depreciation or recession. It will not rust or wear out. No government shall confiscate it nor tax it.
Even if one were to choose physical poverty, blessed are we, for:
“Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous–with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!” Matthew 5:3 (Amplified Bible)
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you, there is more of God and his rule.” Matthew 5:3 (The Message)
Being needy is the state of poverty, which profits us the most. It is more easily attained by choice, rather than theft, confiscation, or repossession. The former comes by release and opened hands, the latter by ripping, tearing, and white-knuckled gripping.
Why is it “…more blessed to give than receive?” Because in giving, we increase our capacity, we make more room for the kingdom of God within. In receiving, we crowd and burden ourselves with more earthly responsibility and possession. Soon our possessions possess us, and not the Spirit of Christ.
If it all must go, let it go, that we may gain Christ. Only let it be done for love, not for ambition, recognition, title, or position, but simply because of the love of God. Less of me, my wants, desires even hopes and dreams; more of Christ and what pleases him, so that in all of our potential emptiness, we fully contain all of Christ.
Christ was cursed on his own because he chose a better way. He chose not the kingdoms of the world as offered by Satan. Not the leap off the temple heights, to attain a spectacular ministry of men and angels, nor independence by commanding stones to become bread.
Rather Christ chose to live in simplicity, neither owning nor possessing. He chose silence before accusers, seclusion instead of acclaim, prayer instead of food, and sinners instead of the righteous. He accepted the ignominy of the cross, and the poverty of a borrowed tomb, and left justice to his God. In seclusion, angels ministered to him when he was starved, naked, and thirsty.
Brennan Manning, the celebrated lover of God and author, wrote:
“I think moments before Christ gave up his spirit into the embrace of his Father, his Father whispered the following words:
“Come away with me my love, my lovely one come. For you the winter is over and gone, the snow has melted. The cooing of the turtle doves can be heard on the land, the flowers are in bloom. Come away with me my love, my lovely one come. Your face is beautiful your voice is sweet. Come away with me my love, my lovely one come.”
At that exact moment the weary and impoverished son, bloodied and beaten, naked and pierced, inhaled his last and final breath and said; “It is finished!” He hung his head and died. His broken body swept up into the loveliness of his Father.”
Because he chose poverty, he has made us all rich. Because he chose death we now live.
Today the choice is yours. Go, sell all that you have, give to the poor and you will have riches in heaven.
Your retirement is in heaven not here on earth. You may have earned it and saved for it, but there is a higher call, a higher law, and a higher love. Only a few find it, and less than a few stay with it. Those who endure, understand that their reward is not here, but in an eternal kingdom that’s not of this world.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus of Nazareth.
The kind of poverty Jesus is speaking about is seldom understood and even less seldom lived.
According to Jesus, no poverty, no Kingdom. If you have a problem with this, take it up with the King of kings.
The poor in spirit are blessed because they chose wisely.