There are several opinions about whether Christians should be materially wealthy or poor. Some argue that it comes down to the life of Jesus and the material comforts he allowed himself during his ministry. I understand that this debate has become increasingly important with the growing significance of the Market Place ministry in the Body of Christ.
Coming from a financial background, I believed that material wealth was not only the expression of success but also a source of fulfillment. Later, this became an area of intense personal contention when I encountered Christian doctrine, which appeared to exalt an abased lifestyle.
In this battle I have found answers to wealth by looking at what Jesus has provided for us in the atonement. He became poor so that I can be rich. His poverty is seen in many ways, including: leaving His throne in Heaven, taking a human form even lower than the angels, choosing the humblest birth place available in Bethlehem, and living in the most insignificant suburb of Nazareth.
The richness of Christ is not material luxury but learning to have an everlasting joy despite your surroundings. I can now share the same joy as royalty living because of the Christ that lives in me. Another may have the material royalty but be absent of joy because He has not Christ. Therefore, he is the poorest of them all.
The argument is not how much material comfort a Christian should surround themselves with but how much one should be entrusted with for their ministry. I see that to some, the Lord will bless with much material possession, not so much for their enjoyment but so that the Lord may Glorify Himself before others to believe.
Indeed, if all silver and gold belongs to Christ, whatever He lays in my hand is so my neighbors may be blessed. The joy of a Christian should not differ despite their material possession because we all draw from the same fountain which is sufficient for us all.
I believe that the Apostle Paul in his ministry among the Gentiles in different cities faced many changes to His material status such that He could appeal to the respective communities. At one point, he was a business owner in the market place, hanging out with the wealthy. In another, he was needy and fully dependent on the Christian community. He concluded, “I know how to be abased and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.
I have therefore concluded that the debate is not how much material comfort a Christian should live in, for I am already rich and sufficient in Christ, but it is how much the Lord wants to Glorify himself through my life.
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