Philippians 4:4, 10-13
How many of us have compared ourselves to the rich and famous from time to time, and wondered what it would be like to have no material needs? Let me share the story of a young woman I once knew. Her job took her to many countries around the world; money was not an issue in her home. Which one of us wouldn’t like to be rich enough to travel? We might forget to count the cost – consider how difficult it was for her to leave her children behind for days at time. Her health suffered from lack of proper rest and eating. She was always running, always fatigued, always feeling guilty because she couldn’t give the quality time she wanted to either her job or children, and suddenly she found herself considering suicide. Things are not always as good as they look.
Poverty comes in different packages. Some folks are rich in spirit. I remember being hosted in very humble homes in Kenya, homes where the joy of the Lord reigned over a simple cup of Kenyan tea. Yet how impoverished are the rich, who like Zacchaeus had spent his lifetime robbing folks in order to gain wealth.
What is it then, that gives us a sense of privilege? God created human beings with everything necessary for a good and happy life. Adam and Eve didn’t need clothes in order to be fashionably trendy. Their diet was very simply vegetarian. They were surrounded by beauty, and they walked with God. If it wasn’t posh, it was a privileged life.
Perhaps we need to examine our expectations. What is legitimate and what is unfortunate? The thing is – God has placed each one of us in circumstances from which we can and will, learn and grow. What we learn is up to us. Will we become bitter or better? Will we spend time regretting the past, blaming and shaming others, or will we take the gifts God has given to us and make them into something that blesses His heart?
Each one of us has been given gifts of personality and temperament. We choose what characteristics we allow to shape us, by using the strength of will God has also given to us. The whole issue is one of choice. There are heroic testimonies of folks who have overcome terrible odds – super heroes in the Para-Olympics, for example. Why are they different from another human being who moans and groan their way through daily life?
Made in the image of God, we have the privilege of choosing what we will be remembered for. Have we been generous and kind, or do self-centered habits alienate us from others? I learned from the poorest of the poor that sharing what one has, makes one feel rich.
Jesus challenges us today to love others as we love ourselves, because He loved us enough to die for us! This is the privileged life! God knew from the beginning that the plan of salvation included not just His chosen people, the Jews, but also included the Gentiles. He prophesied to Abraham thousands of years before Christ came to earth, that his seed would bless the nations. I am a Gentile, as probably most are, who read this. Consider the privilege we have of being grafted into the Branch, the Lord Jesus Christ! (Jeremiah 23:5) I want the whole world to know that joy and peace come from our relationship to God through the Lord Jesus, don’t you? It is my privilege to share Jesus with others, as He shared his life with me. What is your privilege?
by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)