Sunday morning we looked at 2 Kings 4:1-7. We entered into the story of a woman in desperate poverty, who despite her financial condition, was a wealthy woman. How is that? How could a widow who has suddenly lost everything with the tragic death of her husband and been cast to the very bottom of society be considered wealthy?
In James 1 and 2, the brother of Jesus (the greatest and poorest man who ever lived) breaks that down for us.
Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation,
Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?
The one in humble conditions (material poverty) should boast in their high position. (1:9) Why? Because God has chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith. (2:5)
At one point or another in our lives, most of us will know what it is to face the humbling limitations of financial poverty. An unexpected layoff, accident or illness can wipe out our savings and put us deep in debt. A vocational calling to a less valued career can leave us making it week to week for a living.
In this world which exalts wealth and financial freedom, which honors and esteems the “haves,” how should we think about ourselves when we “have not?”
According to James we should boast. We should take pride in our position, because the world has things upside down. And we know it. We know that a life is not measured by dollars and cents, but by much greater and more freely accessible things—like faith and love.
We know that a life is not measured by dollars and cents.
We should boast because the poor man or woman has been positioned for a greater abundance of faith. Just like the woman in 2 Kings 4. In her humble position, she understood her need for grace and cried out for help. God responded to her cry, reached down into her world and rearranged her circumstances to answer her prayer. In that moment she knew that the God of the universe was her God. The God of widows and orphans and refugees. The God of the exalted poor.
Tom Brown is the planting pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Wichita. Tom and his wife, Mandy, have worked together in ministry for 18 years and have four children. More about Pastor Tom Brown