Written By: Bill Elliff
As always, God is in the perfect position to see all of our life and make sense of it. We have various opinions of people, including ourselves, who have or do not have wealth–whether their (or our) monetary situation is voluntary or involuntary. 2 Corinthians 8 is one of the greatest passages on giving in all the Bible. But look at one perspective on wealth, coupled with Paul’s statement in 2 Cor. 6:10. Paul is recounting his current condition and its purpose and makes this phenomenal observation about himself…
…as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything. (2 Cor. 6:10)
Couple this statement with the description of Christ given a few chapters later.
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 through His poverty might become rich. (2 Cor. 8:9)
And then…add one more ingredient to the recipe, which is found in Paul’s statement about the Corinthians giving to meet the needs of others:
…at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need… (2 Cor. 8:14)
In these verses you hear the following beautiful conclusions…
You can be poor and be amazingly rich.
Paul said he had nothing and everything at the same time. His contentment did not rest upon the level of his material possession at ALL. He was rich in the singular provision of Christ. He knew that if you have Him and have Him deeply, you have all you need. You are an “heir and joint heir” with Christ. You “inherit the earth” as Jesus said. By the way, this wasn’t some super-spiritual-but-unreal-statement. It was TRUE. Paul really believed this and experienced this priceless paradox.
You can be poor and be greatly used.
Paul said of his current status that he was “poor, yet making many rich.” Some of the godliest people in the world are rich…and some are poor. Jesus knew poverty, but that poverty was literally the vehicle to enrich others. If you have little, with Christ, you have everything you need to live a rich life and be used to help others live a rich life, both now and eternally. You can give people CHRIST! How amazingly wealthy you are! No tycoon owns more or can give more.
You can be RICH and be greatly used.
Poverty is not a virtue over wealth—it is how it is seen and used that is important. Paul said that he had lived in both and learned the secret of contentment in each environment (see Philippians 4). He observes that some Corinthians had an “abundance” in 2 Cor. 8, which was now being used to help others in need. He did not condemn them for this abundance at all. Obviously, it is not wrong to have plenty. But one must see their temporary monetary blessing as a stewardship entrusted for a purpose. But also, those who are knowing poverty must not look down their spiritual noses at those who are poor, nor vice versa.
God may ask you to become voluntarily poor for a purpose.
The Father asked His son to “become poor” to make many rich. Obviously, God had Paul on a similar journey at this season of his life. Christ’s obedience was hard, but eternally fruitful. If God asks you to give away something—or EVERYTHING—you can trust Him. He knows what He’s doing in this brief few years you have on this earth and the purposes of the wealth He gives or takes away. You can trust His purposes.
It’s not the presence or absence of money that makes a life. God can provide for you or use you in either situation. It’s the presence or absence of CHRIST that is our most important treasure.
(copyright 2012, Bill Elliff)
2ProphetU is an online magazine/website, started by Warren Wiersbe and Michael Catt, to build up the church, seek revival, and encourage pastors.