I think it will be good to begin this blog series with a discussion of what poor actually is. After all, if you drop from a $400k job to a $100k, you might consider yourself poor. Or maybe we are quick to characterize someone as poor in the pitiful sense, “That poor baby…” But how often do we equate being poor with our spirits? Most of us know that we are to be poor in spirit, as seen in the beatitudes. But what about Jesus? How does He fit into all this?
Enter 2 Corinthians 8:9 – “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”
Hmmm…a simple read may not make this apparent as Paul intended. Many are quick to compare Jesus’ heavenly throne to His earthly, meager existence. Though this is true, Paul is not talking about Christ giving up His throne to be crucified. It goes much deeper.
[churchpack_superquote]So what IS poor?[/churchpack_superquote]
That verse pretty much redefines our view of poverty. After all, we know that many financial destitute people will be present in the new heaven and earth. And we know that multitudes of others from other social classes and bank rolls will be found guiltless in Christ. So no, this isn’t talking about Christ forsaking His heavenly kingdom to die on a cross to save us from our sins. It means that Christ gave over His righteousness to believers and took on their sins, forsaking such great richness in God for our destitution of sin. Jesus saw this as His definition of poor and rich. He keep His eyes so heavenward that though He saw and attended to the poor (physically and financially) on the earth, His ultimate care for humanity is seen in His caring for the poor (spiritually) on the cross.
[churchpack_superquote]By this definition, we are poor, all of us[/churchpack_superquote]
It was Jesus’ primary mission to take on the sin of His people, the church, by hanging on the cross, bearing sin that was not His own, and dying the death He did not deserve. We cannot even begin to understand the agony of God in this act of redemption. After all, God holds all things in existence. And so He keep the cross intact, and Jesus, though able to rescue Himself, endured the pain and weight of sin. We must never make minimal the wondrous act of love on the cross when we care for the hurt, suffering, and destitute. We must remember that the only poverty that can be undone forever is also the poverty that affects us the most. Then we can continue to care in other ways. Look to Christ. Share Christ. Give of yourself like Christ.