by: FCC Staff
We can definitely see the literal truth of today's proverb in the world around us. While the "golden rule" of Christ may be to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." (Matthew 7:12), the golden rule of our society could be more accurately stated as, "he who has the gold, makes the rules."
What then is the spiritual truth of today's proverb? How does poverty or riches apply to our spiritual walk before Christ? Jesus taught a parable that can help us see the realities of the conditions of our heart and spirit:
"He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)
From a societal point of view, a Pharisee and a Tax Collector were both on the upper end of the spectrum, as far as money went. While a tax collector made his money being an agent of the oppressive government, the Pharisee made his way by being part of an oppressive religious system. The Pharisee sees himself as spiritually well off, however, and has a rather rough answer to God in prayer. Instead of being humble and thankful, he's glad he's 'not like other men.' He didn't really NEED anything from God, other than some validation of his self-righteous superiority to others. What is ironic is that the charges he levels at others: extortion, injustice, adultery... Jesus showed the Pharisees that they were guilty of all these things themselves. But they couldn't see it. Wrapped in their self-righteous attitude, they felt justified in all they did and spiritually rich. They viewed the tax-collectors and "sinners" that listened to Jesus as being poorly equipped spiritually. Jesus says the opposite is true. The man who can humble himself and admit his spiritual poverty before God, HE is the one who goes away justified before God!
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."(Matthew 5:3)
When we can come before God with humble entreaties, acknowledging our needs before Him, then we are acting as citizens of the kingdom of heaven. When we live our lives proud of all we have and only need God to validate our own efforts, we are corrupt. Looking down at others and seeing our position before God as more of a peer-to-peer relationship and less as a master and a servant. While it is true that in the world that those who have a lot of money can "afford" to give a rough answer to others, in the kingdom of heaven, physical wealth can be a liability if it distracts us from our true relationship and standing before God.
So today, let us offer humble entreaties to the Lord, acknowledging the great spiritual debts we owe to Him. Let us seek to be poor in spirit, so we can be blessed to inherit the kingdom of heaven.
Prayer for Today:
Father, I acknowledge my many sins and all the ways I fall short of your will each day. By the blood of your son, Jesus, forgive me and make me new today. Bless me with your love, mercy, and grace so that by your Holy Spirit, I can walk humbly before you. Show me my need for you today so that I may not grow prideful and arrogant, blind to my humble status before you. Amen.