“Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity
within thy palaces.” – Psalms 122:7
The lack of basic daily necessities is usually associated with third world countries and not very often with America, the land of opportunity. Unfortunately, it is a reality in our world today, because along with opportunity comes a desire for more possessions, more money, more status, more, and more, and more. Hebrews 13:5 says, "Keep your lives free from the love of money and learn to be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you.'" We are living in a material world – that fact has been stated over and over again, but now it’s time to address one of the results that can come from our greed, our love of money, our need for more ... the reality of poverty.
Poverty can be defined as the condition of a person who lacks a certain amount of material possessions or money. Sometimes this is based on a” socially acceptable” level of resources or income as determined by a specific community or society. There is also “absolute poverty, better known as destitution, which refers to being unable to afford basic human needs, such as food, clean water, shelter, clothing, health care, and education. In our world there are many people in varying levels of poverty.
Due to some changes going on at work, my hours have recently been cut back. It has made a huge financial impact on my budget, but I try to remember that I am still blessed. After all, there are many others that have so much less than me. It is one thing to write about my blessings, but a totally different matter trying to live with daily financial concerns. The way we re-act or deal with our financial difficulties can make us poor in spirit. So I ask myself – “Is it possible to find peace, joy, and hope in poverty?”
No matter what our financial situation may be, if our finances are controlling us, we need to take it to the Lord in prayer. Matthew 7:7 reminds us to “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” God wants to be involved in every part of our life – even our finances.
PEACE in poverty: Financial poverty brings with it worries about paying bills, making ends meet, and providing basic necessities (food, shelter, clothing). Along with poverty comes worry about the things we have and those we don’t have. Poverty can wear down our spirits and stress can take away our peace. Our worry and stress can only be taken away by Christ.... by finding peace of mind in His promises.
JOY in poverty: When we have the desire for possessions and the love of money filling our heart, there is no room for God to fill our heart with joy. When we seek God more than material things, He can replace our sorrows and burdens with joy. All we need to do is pray, spend time in His presence, praise Him for being with us, and thank Him for providing our daily bread.
HOPE in poverty: Financial burdens are one of the biggest causes for loss of hope in our world today. Everyone is talking about money, or should I say the lack of it. The government is having problems, states have been impacted by natural disasters, and many countries have been impacted with illness and lack of necessities such as water and food. How can we look forward to a promise for a brighter tomorrow when we have no hope for today? Our hope is in the Lord, the same One who brings us peace and fills our hearts with joy.
What the Bible tells us:
Scripture reassures us that even during economic hardship God will be with us. Psalms 35:27 states the Lord takes pleasure in the prosperity of His people. Here are some other Bible verses to remind us that God did not make us (or bring us this far) just to leave us where we are...
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).
“Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?” (James 2:5)
“For I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances may be. I know now how to live when things are difficult and I know how to live when things are prosperous. In general and in particular I have learned the secret of eating well or going hungry of facing either plenty of poverty. I am ready for anything through the strength of the One who lives within me” (Philippians 4:11-13)
“Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have” (Hebrews 13:5)
The reality of our earthly treasures and financial burdens owning us is not a new concept... Jesus asked the disciples to give up everything to follow Him. The answer to our financial worries, doubts, stress, and fears can be found in Christ alone.
Just as we share our faith and hope in Christ, we need to share our prayer concerns. So, I ask you to keep me in your prayers, and I will do the same for you. If you have prayer requests that you would like to share, please add them to the comment section or send me an email at - firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t miss the final segment in my series on materialism – Friday’s BLOG will explore steps we can take for “Financial Peace.”
May you have a week filled with peace, joy, and hope.
Blessings, Donna Weaver
“For He Himself is our peace.”
– Ephesians 2:14