As I sit here in my hotel in Paris, it is difficult not to see the drastic contrast of where I was a few days ago (India) and where I am today (Paris). Oh, the contrasts! This brings me to the greatest of contrasts this world has ever known!
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 by his poverty might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9
How easy it is to take the above scripture for granted? I read it casually and move on to vs 10. And when I do, I think little of the truths these amazing words contain. I don’t take the time to consider:
God, the Creator of the universe, the almighty, infinite, Sovereign God…. became poor!
How wonderful are these few words? God became poor. What grace and mercy! No greater display of humility has this world ever known! What love, power, glory and splendor we find in God becoming poor, that we might become rich. No, not the nonsense of monetary wealth that can be sold and marketed in some preaching circles today.
Christian, he became poor so that you might be rich in Christ.
How wealthy has His poverty made you? Your inheritance in Christ is infinite. It is so much more than monetary gain! How pathetic is it that we limit God’s humility to monetary gain in this life. His poverty accomplished something far greater! Something…..eternal. Something that can not be earned. Something only Jesus can provide.
The above scripture takes on new meaning having spent some time in India. India gives the text an extra kick. Poverty is everywhere you turn in India. I have been told by our local hosts that over the past decade, things have actually improved regarding the poverty. One can only think: How can this be?
The students, at the ministry where we were teaching, often arrived in the same clothes that they wore the previous day. It was a joy to leave behind much of the clothes I brought. I don’t need them…. my closet is still full of clothes when I return home!
In some small way…. each day we leave the comforts of our very nice hotel and enter another world. And, when we do, it is a bit like we are becoming poor. Now I am not so foolish to think – I am poor! But, there is a tangible shift when you leave the comforts of the hotel. The 1,000 things we take for granted in America quickly, very quickly are
no longer at our fingertips.
And that is good for me for 3 reasons.
1. It stirs my heart in gratitude for all I have been given.
- Water on demand, clean, filtered, safe, water. Oh, what luxury is this?
- Food, lots of it! Variety, fresh, clean…
- Uh….. shelter from the elements! This is an unknown luxury for so many in India.
- Carpet and tile as opposed to concrete or dirt floor. Dirt floor = mud floor during the yearly monsoon season.
- Christian fellowship
- Non persecution or serious fear of persecution
- Traffic laws
- Clean environment (you can not imagine the trash…)
- Yes, I could go on and on! You get the point. I / we have so much!
2. It brings new meaning to the words…. “Go, into…”
We visited the slums one day where pastor R. and S. and their daughter live. They moved there…. by choice to bring the gospel to the millions of people who live in the slums. The slums, brought me new meaning to my understanding of….poor.
Pastor R and S have been persecuted, threatened, and recently accused of a crime. You see, Ahmedabad, has a “conversion law.” This landed them at the local police station. (I will save this story for another post. You don’t want to miss it! Stay tuned!)
Here is the quick point. R. and S. are incarnating the gospel. No, it is nowhere near God became man type of poverty. And yet, how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news?!? They moved into the slums to bring the gospel to these beautiful people. Wow! I have no category for such sacrifice! I find myself asking: Have I ever sacrificed?
3. It brings me, once again, to the gospel.
Christ became poor! Wow! And…. did He ever!! He moved into the slums! He did not remain at a distance! He took on human flesh!
GOD…. did this. He left the comforts of heaven and lowered Himself that He might die for those who hate Him and are in rebellion against Him. Oh friends, What a Savior is our Lord!
“…..though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
(Philippians 2:6-11 ESV)
Friends…. consider today what you have been given. And, consider what Christ has done to bring you to the extravagant wealth of your salvation.
Praise God, He became poor…..
(Sorry for the quality of these photos! Again, I hope the content of the post merits the low quality of the pics.)