The Only “Have” Or “Have Not” That Matters

            I’m rather tired of our political leaders trying to divide our nation between the “have’s” and the “have not’s”.  I don’t care who the politician is or in which political party they reside, when creating division between people becomes your strategy in order to maintain power, it’s despicable.  Over time it has become quite clear that one political party has chosen that course.  And sadly, President Obama has unashamedly chosen to lead the way.  There have always been circumstances in which those with means have taken advantage of those without, but there have also always been times when those without means have sought to inappropriately take advantage as well.  Greed isn’t reserved only for the wealthy.  We are brought down as a nation when our power hungry political leaders successfully pit certain groups of Americans against another.  I reject that and I believe many do.  I reject that every financial good fortune was ill gotten and every financial misfortune was someone else’s fault just as I reject that some people’s financial misfortune was of their own making.  I also believe many people, irregardless of their means, stand willing to reach out and help others in need.  This is not reserved only for those with greater means helping those with less.  It works both ways.  If you look for it, you can see it every day.  Rich, poor or whatever, I do believe in the good of people and I think we should.  We’re better when we do.  But a most important question is of what that good is motivated by. 

            Unfortunately, you find in some preaching that wealth makes it impossible to spend eternity in heaven, that heaven is only reserved for the poor.  On the other end, you find preaching that says wealth implies God’s favor, while poverty implies His disfavor.  The Bible teaches neither as these are both manufactured theologies.  Financial means are not the measure of how one will spend eternity.  God owns everything and needs nothing.  Though seemingly opposite, wealth and poverty present similar challenges.  In both cases, it has the potential to shift our focus away from God.  James addressed this very issue in his letter to those undergoing suffering and persecution.  He wrote to the poor, “Let the lowly boast in his exaltation” (James 1:9).  James was telling them to focus on their position before Christ and to boast in their heavenly reward to come.  To the wealthy he said be “rich in his humiliation” (James 1:10).  In other words, wealth passes away and is incapable of bringing the inner peace that only God can.  Sure James addressed the oppression of the poor.  It was wrong then and when it occurs today, it remains wrong, but are we better through division?  I don’t believe we are.    

            But there’s a bigger issue that the rich and poor need to be concerned with, a “have” or “have not” that really matters, and it has nothing to do with material wealth.  It’s the issue of whether or not you have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  That’s what truly matters.  Are you rich in His grace?  We should all want to be rich in this way.  All this other stuff is secondary.  Trust the sovereign hand of God to provide for your needs.  Don’t let material wealth allow you to take your eye off of the God who gave it to you, and don’t let your lack of it keep you from trusting His provision.  Remember, rich or poor, “have” or “have not”, His provision you can always trust.

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