Monday, January 4, 2010

God had a Plan,
Poverty Mentality?

Well, here’s something to think about. The apostle Paul never said, “Join with me in believing God for personal comfort, good health and the prosperity of material possessions.” He did say, “Join with me in suffering hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” What a contrast! Paul had many other things to say about materialism, teaching instead that we should learn to be content with food and covering. And if God did happen to bless us with material riches, we ought not be smug about that.

Now, I don’t know for sure who originally coined the phrase, “poverty mentality,” but it seems to me that person must have believed it to be a personal problem Paul had. But wait a minute – which is scriptural – the sayings of Paul – or the phrase, “poverty mentality?” I think you know the answer.

Apart from the apostle Paul, the bible does have a lot to say about poverty and the poor. God, in case you are wondering, does not despise poor people. If you do a keyword search on ‘poor’ you will find many scriptures which simply clearly show God’s heart – including this one:

Proverbs 14:31 He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker,
But he who is gracious to the needy honors Him.

It’s true also that there are many verses indicating poverty to often (not always) be the direct result of poor choices. One example:

Proverbs 14:23 In all labor there is profit, But mere talk leads only to poverty.

We need to live out our lives as Christians in wisdom, not being arrogant if we happen to be rich, and not despairing if we happen to be poor. It is good not to be lazy, but to do the work God has called us to with diligence, whatever it happens to be. We should always be thankful, and if we find ourselves in any need, don’t be discouraged from praying and asking Him to meet that need. Greed, however, the bible still counsels against, and certain phrases such as “name it and claim it” are not scriptural, whereas “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God” is – along with many, many others!

Even as I write this, I recognize my own failures – I am not “gracious to the needy” nearly as much as I should be, and there are times I am lazy, or I just make the wrong choices in how I spend my time. I think we all certainly have room for improvement in many areas.

But truly, this article is not so much about caring for the poor (although that’s important) as it is about how we go about choosing what to believe. There is so much false doctrine out there, and one group teaches the next, and it becomes pervasive in our Christian society. Our thoughts are not about pleasing God, but about how we can get God to please us. We swallow the popular teachings of the day hook, line and sinker – you know, the ones designed to tickle our ears and tell us just what we want to hear.

I know most if not all of you reading this truly have a desire to please God, and not just please self. So, join with me – learning, like Paul, to be content in whatever circumstance – to not only enjoy God’s blessings because He truly does bless us with good things – but also when there are trials and need, to continue on being thankful because God is always good! He uses the bad times perhaps even more than the good to build our lives into that which pleases Him!

Job 42:1-2 Then Job answered the LORD and said, "I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.



Sharlyn Guthrie said...

These are some great thoughts on the topic of poverty. I'll add one more: Blessed are the poor in spirit. This verse speaks of humility, but isn't that really the heart of the matter? Thanks for sharing.

Catrina Bradley... said...

A good word in these times. The "prosperity gospel" madness was followed immediately by economic recession. Obviously we need to wake up and hear and heed what God is really saying. Bless you, Sherri.