2 Corinthians 8:9
There is a story of a Persian monarch who reigned in a time of great splendor and magnificence who lived in the midst of wealth and prosperity. Yet, having a heart for his people, he at one point dressed himself as a pauper and went to be amongst his people. He didn’t have to go very far, for in the palace basement was a common man who lived and worked day & night as the palace fire-keeper. Every day he fed and stoked the fire that would then be placed into containers which would then be distributed amongst the palace rooms to keep the royal & wealthy warm. It was a dirty job. He lived, breathed that coal dust and he was always covered in soot and ashes. Daily the disguised king would spend time with this poor & common man, often sharing his meager black bread and small amount of water. A strong bond of friendship soon worked & talked. A deep bond of friendship soon developed between the two men. There came a day though when the king’s conscience convicted him to reveal his true identity as the man’ emperor. Yet, when the king did so, he also offered the fire-keepers’ an elevation in his position and a choice of a gift , like making him a wealthy man, or giving him a city to rule, or anything his heart desired as a token of their friendship. However, (much to the king’s surprise the poor & common man was at first silent. Finally, he told his monarch, “You have given of yourself to me and the only thing my heart desires is that your friendship is never withdrawn from me.
In 2 Corinthians 8:9 Paul gives us morale of this story writing “… our Lord Jesus Christ, though He was rich, He became poor, so that by His poverty we would become rich.” You see, Jesus gave up the unimaginable majesty & splendor that was His, in order to call us His friends. A loving friendship so deep, it would take Him to the cross. The story also reminds us that our relationship with Him and by extension our relationship with others is far more valuable than any earthly treasure. For everything else truly pales in comparison if we keep in mind anything else is simply an implement to use, in order to reflect the glory of our King.
I don’t believe we can truly comprehend the glory and splendor Jesus left for our sake, but we having living example how his earthly poverty belied His riches. Jesus had:
- no job
- no money
- no home and
- no official recognition
His ministry and His whole life was one of total surrender and self- sacrifice, even if it led to His death. If you reflect upon it, how little is often asked of ourselves. Is it not true, that we demand our self-defined rights, our self-first priority or our self-defined right way in things? However, if we are truly Jesus’ followers the abundant life is not found in self. It’s found it heart-felt love & service to God and others. For it will provide us with a true richness in this life and in eternity.
Prayer: Lord, may we always see the true value of all that is under your sovereignty and that we may hold close to our hearts the riches that can only come from You. We pray that we hold any earthly riches with an open hand and that we cling tightly to the eternal riches You have promised. In essence Lord we pray that our perspective lies in the value we attach to those things that will last forever. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.