Wealth and Poverty

john-moeses-bauan-632107-unsplashA clarity presented itself while I tended some dirty dishes. My best thoughts come when I’m doing the dishes. My mom made me into a dish ninja, and now that we have a dishwasher (2012) my dishwashing skills, not to brag, are a 10 degree black belt. Just sayin.

There’s a certain part of town that I’ve been infatuated with because it’s demographic, how should I say, is the opposite financially to the way I grew up. While doing the dishes I realized that my parents go to church pretty much in that zip code. It’s not exactly that zip code, but it’s definitely a neighbor. It actually sits across the street from Vanderbilt University, and my friends Terry and Philip are employed by the same church. Both of them are Hebrew scholars, and my Masters was in biblical Hebrew as well. Philip was not done with his Ph.D. yet when I graduated, but Terry put my hood on me when I did. I’ve also been to Brazil twice with Terry when I was in undergraduate school. He’s an amazing man, and his wife Terri, whose name I think I misspelled, is a delightful quiet woman.

Affluence has always been a subject I’ve been interested in. You might chuckle thinking well sure Daniel who doesn’t like money? That’s not my point. Jesus didn’t have a place to lay His head, meaning He did not own a home, but God always provided didn’t He? That’s not really my point either. Money has ruined many people, and I’m not exempt from that destruction. As a Christian I strive to think about and use money to glorify God. I’ve not always been successful because I’m human, I fight the sinful nature and I’m not the brightest steward of the things God allows me to acquire. I am like David, a man after God’s own heart. I’ve never forsaken my LORD, and His presence makes an hourly difference in my life.

When I was traveling the globe (Guam) with my family of origin we met many affluent Christians who continue to influence me today. The things I’ve read, the experiences I’ve had and the people I continue to “interact” with make a lasting impression on me as I strive daily to get my mind right about affluence.

I know Jesus had some harsh things to say about the rich, but I also know that some of the most devout followers of Yahweh in the Hebrew Bible were very affluent. You cannot ignore either reality. Truth is found between the ears of rich, middle class and poor. Stop demonizing any social class because every human being on planet Earth was created in the image of Yahweh. You can learn from the man who lives in a tent under the freeway just as assuredly as you can learn from the man who has a mile long driveway. They both sin, but they both can call on the name of the LORD.

Let me remind you that that tent and the 10k square foot estate will both burn one day. You won’t even have the same eyes that read these words. Our mortal bodies will be changed into immortal ones. If that doesn’t give you hope check for a pulse.

I guess what I’m getting at is that Jesus Christ becomes more real for me as I see His finger prints all around me. Emmanuel use to be a simple Greek phrase for me I’d define for my Sunday School teachers, but it’s so much more now as I observe these existential thoughts swarming in my head as I do the dishes.

The Holy Spirit is alive and well. Wealth can be a distraction just like Twitter, Instagram or Game of Thrones. Fix your eyes on the Author and Perfecter of our faith Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross. We will have crosses to bare, but let’s not forget the great feast the father prepared for the son who returned.

He loves us with a love I don’t know we’ll ever fully comprehend. At least not here in this moment.

May His name be praised continually whether well fed or hungry.

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