You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. ~ 2 Corinthians 8:9
Do you feel rich? An economist by the name of Robert Heilbroner once challenged people to imagine doing the following. Move your family into a building the size of an old tool shed. Have no electricity, no running water, no bathroom. Get rid of all your clothes except for one set. Keep one pair of shoes. Destroy all written material. Toss out all food except for some flour, sugar and salt, a few potatoes, some onions and dried beans. Throw away all your investments, pensions and insurance policies. Reduce your savings to ten dollars. Live about a three-hour walk away from the nearest clinic. And support your entire family raising crops on a few acres of land. Give a third of your crops to your landlord and a tenth of your crops to your money lender.
If you do that, says Robert Heilbroner, then you’ll know how over a billion people are living in the world right now. And then, perhaps, you’ll realize how rich you really are.
Now imagine something else. The world you live in is dark, cynical, senseless. If there is a God, you haven’t met him. If there is some grand reason for living, you don’t know it. And so you go to work, come home, cash your check on payday, get groceries, watch TV, catch up with the laundry on weekends, take in a ballgame with friends, discuss current events, pursue a hobby, vacation during the summer, go to the dentist, go to the doctor, feel your body getting old, put in for retirement, mow your lawn and weed your garden, watch your life get slower and smaller. And then you wait to die—empty, puzzled and frightened.
If you can imagine that, then you can imagine life without Jesus, life without the forgiveness, peace, joy, security, purpose and certainty of heaven that are yours in your Savior. And then, you, too, can realize how rich you really are.
Prayer: Forgive me, Lord Jesus, for all the times I have forgotten how rich I am in you. Empower me by your Spirit. Help me to see what I have with fresh insight. Amen.