The earliest home I remember was on the edge of the city dump. The piles of garbage were right there behind our back yard. I walked on the path between the piles for a short cut to school when I was in Kindergarten. I guess that means we were poor, but I never realized that. I just have happy memories of my childhood. Although I wish my mother had never told me that one time a rat ran across my back when I was sleeping. I know my parents were glad to get out of that place.
I’ve lived in many places since those early days. Every one of them was better than that first one. In fact, when compared to the hovels in which much of the population of the world lives, my houses would seem like mansions. Even that first house would seem great to the millions of people living in shanty towns across the globe.
Why is it, then, that most of us crave more? We have plenty. Our needs are more spiritual than material. How do we interpret the promise in Philippians 4:19? “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Often we think our “need” is for a new refrigerator or a new house or even a new haircut. How does our understanding of this verse compare with that of a Christian in the jungles of Africa or a refugee camp in Jordan? Those individuals have been reduced to the basics and treasure intangible things like freedom and love.
Aren’t all of Jesus’ followers rich because of Him? “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 God?” “God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…:” (Ephesians 2:4 & James 2:5 ESV).
Are you enjoying your riches in Christ today? And are you living in anticipation of all that is our eternal inheritance? Maybe we all live so close to the dumps of this world that they have too much of our attention. Let’s pray for those who live in material poverty today. But let’s make sure that we aren’t living in spiritual poverty when we could be claiming the riches that Christ has provided.
Where is your focus today? On the garbage of this world or the treasures in Heaven? The advice in the Word says: “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2 KJV). You’re not in the dumps, are you?