Friday, March 08, 2013
Today’s Topic: Always Wealthy
Today’s Text: Revelation 2:9a (ESV) I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich)…
My kids make fun of me for it. As we travel to North Dakota to see family my wife usually makes a slightly sarcastic comment about it every time we get close. You see, I love windmills. If I had my way I would have a tall traditional farm windmill in my front yard. For some reason they have an aesthetic appeal as my eyes scan the farmlands of the Midwest.
Near my wife’s home town is a huge wind farm, with several miles of huge wind-powered generators reaching high into the sky. I love them. They can be seen from twenty miles away, which is about when the joking starts. As the distance diminishes, an optical illusion begins. It becomes very difficult to discern the rotational direction of the arms on the tower. From one perspective they look like they are travelling clockwise, but as we get closer and the angle of perspective changes they actually are turning in the opposite direction. The fact is they always turn in the same direction, but one’s viewing perspective can make them appear to be turning the other way.
Perspective matters. Jesus told His church in Smyrna to look at life from the right perspective. From the human perspective they appeared to be in trouble and in poverty; but from God’s perspective they were rich.
This morning in my devotions, Charles Spurgeon wrote this:
God’s people have their trials. It was never designed by God, when He chose His people, that they should be an untried people. They were chosen in the furnace of affliction; they were never chosen to worldly peace and earthly joy. Freedom from sickness and the pains of mortality was never promised them; but when their Lord drew up the charter of privileges, He included chastisements amongst the things to which they should inevitably be heirs.
Trials are a part of our lot; they were predestinated for us in Christ’s last legacy. So surely as the stars are fashioned by his hands, and their orbits fixed by Him, so surely are our trials allotted to us: He has ordained their season and their place, their intensity and the effect they shall have upon us. Good men must never expect to escape troubles; if they do, they will be disappointed, for none of their predecessors have been without them.
Mark the patience of Job; remember Abraham, for he had his trials, and by his faith under them, he became the “Father of the faithful.” Note well the biographies of all the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, and you shall discover none of those whom God made vessels of mercy, who were not made to pass through the fire of affliction. It is ordained of old that the cross of trouble should be engraved on every vessel of mercy, as the royal mark whereby the King’s vessels of honor are distinguished.
But although tribulation is thus the path of God’s children, they have the comfort of knowing that their Master has traversed it before them; they have His presence and sympathy to cheer them, His grace to support them, and His example to teach them how to endure; and when they reach “the kingdom,” it will more than make amends for the “much tribulation” through which they passed to enter it.
We are so rich in Christ. Our troubles do not define us as poor. Our lifestyles do not increase or decrease our value. Our earthly treasures will all be lost, but our eternal inheritance is secured and kept by the power of God, ready to be revealed in Christ’s presence. If you are struggling with that truth, maybe a change of perspective is necessary.