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POVERTY: A STATE OF MIND
There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches. (Pro 13:7)
The pictures above depict someone who is existing with just the minimum required in order to be comfortable. The man on the left appears to possess what is being carried on the bicycle. Is the man sitting in the chair among the homeless? Or is he a rich man on vacation, and his Mercedes just out of camera shot?
He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich. (Prov 21:17)
The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all. (Prov 22:2)
Not all people without a home are homeless. Many “homeless” choose being without a home because it allows one to have fewer expenses and responsibilities. Many of the homeless have job opportunities, but they prefer the freedom and lack of restrictions living on the streets afford them.
Solomon tells us in the proverb above that the one who seeks pleasure will be poor. If a person was to figure how much they spend on such luxuries as cigarettes and soft drinks alone the amount would be staggering. Add to this the electronic gadgets available today, and the services for such goodies, it's a wonder that most of the civilized world isn't homeless.
There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up. (Prov 21:20)
I often converse with the travelers and homeless in order to learn the background story behind their lifestyle. One day I saw a young man and woman sitting on a corner holding up a sign. The two of them were married, and were sleeping in a tent situated on the sand dunes behind the local store. I asked them if they received an income of any kind. They said they did, a sum of $550 each, which is almost double what I receive from my Social Security (being now 77 years young). On top of this amount they both receive a plentiful supply from food stamps, and their medical bills are paid for them. I asked them why, since they receive so much income they are living on the streets, begging for food? They told me they both smoke, to the tune of 400 dollars per month apiece.
What should be their treasure, they are turning into ashes.
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; (1Tim 6:17)
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Mat 5:3)
Camping, they say, is an expensive way to pretend like you are homeless. The traveler on the bicycle is homeless, yet he is doing exactly what he desires to do. He wouldn't account himself as homeless, any more than a boy scout would consider himself to be homeless when on a troop campout. Yet both of these are without a home, and have with them far less than many of those who consider themselves as homeless.
And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. (Mat 8:20)
Jesus and the Apostle had no home, yet they left a comfortable lifestyle in order to fulfill God's mission. For six years I lived on a bicycle, traveling over 40,000 miles, not knowing where I would be laying my head that evening. I was without funds or support, but I was not homeless. I had taken on the lifestyle of a vagabond, rather than establish a comfortable home. I had everything I wanted, so in that way I could be considered as rich, since even the rich have those things they wish they had.
The secret to having everything you want, is to want what you already have. Those people desiring to cause others to feel sorry for them, or who feel sorry or themselves, are among the poorest in the world.
We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (2Cor 6:1)
Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? (James 2:5)
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? (Mat 7:11)
The poor who are satisfied with what they have, are among the richest of people. Possessions create fear and frustration, in that they must be maintained, protected from theft, and they cause a person to desire more. While the poor who seek the riches of Heaven, who are concerned about the poor and hurting in the world rather than their own status, are wealthy children of God.
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. (2Cor 8:9)
Jesus was rich beyond our imagination. Yet He surrendered those riches in order that we poor of the world might be partners with Him in the riches He obtained through His humility.
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: (Rev 3:17)
And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. (Mat 19:24)
Riches are allusive. When we possess far more then even the potentates of times past, we still tend to consider ourself poor. I've heard wealthy men complain because of something they've been deprived of, didn't have, and are lacking appreciation for all they did hold in their oversize barns.
But Solomon was building his own house thirteen years, and he finished all his house. (1Kings 7:1)
As rich and as wise as Solomon was, he didn't have even a fraction of the finery that the poor of any civilized country possesses. He didn't have a single television set or a computer. He didn't own even one telephone or radio. Kindergartners in this country carry with them a tiny gadget that will communicate around the world. Yet even in my lifetime, such things were only a fantasy in some fiction writer's dream. Why, even indoor toilets were unavailable to many people of this country not a century ago.
It's far too easy for us to feel sorry for ourself when we don't have what the Jones have. I know for myself, as a child I envied those in church who were wearing shoes without cardboard covering the hole in the sole of their shoes.
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Mat 25:31-46)
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