“When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?” (Matt. 19:25) For many centuries, and still in many cases today, if a person had wealth, whether it was monetary or in the possession of numerous items, that meant that they were being blessed by God, stuff meant blessings. Being blind, lame, destitute meant sin, or at least the lack of blessings of the Lord.
I cannot say whether or not this was a misconception, for if we look at many in the Old Testament, Abraham, Job, before and after his trial, so to speak, Solomon, the list is extensive, we can see that who the Lord blessed had wealth. Yet Jesus, the only One who has ever lived a life completely and wholly for the glory of the Father, was destitute. “And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” (Luke 9:58) We still live in an age where this scenario is played out, to a degree, the Joel Osteen’s of the world, the televangelists, the Roman Catholic cult and many others have great wealth, but in most cases, they will pretend to be destitute, and exclaim in many other cases that all that they own is the Lord’s, that they are simply using their great wealth for His glory.
How does the simple-minded man discern the difference, when much of the Scriptures show that those indeed who were blessed by the Lord had great wealth?
It was completely against the character of God in the eyes of the world for the Messiah to be poor, to not be a man of great station and wealth. This was not the way that they understood the way of God, poor people were not blessed by God, rich people were. The same stands true today, no one who is a street preacher, a person who has a regular job and reaches out to people for the love of Christ can be that much of a man of God, he must have a large congregation, wear the appropriate attire when in public, at least a finely made suit and tie. He must have the proper haircut, be trained by the best of schools, he must be not only a well-rounded man in all areas of study, but able to use his great oratory skills to reach the masses. “For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment.” (James 2:2)
We treat these individuals differently, we tend to see them as closer to the Lord, as a “higher called” servant, as one that is blessed more than we are. And the simple man who desires no more than God would be glorified, that people would hear the message of the cross? Well, he might be a good man, so to speak, but he is not nearly as blessed as those others.
We tend to hold people in a higher regard than we should, many are like the lost in this respect, those who have attained great wealth in the world, those who by reason of their actions that have achieved fame and fortune, that stand in the great halls created by men are lifted up as the model that we are to attempt to attain for ourselves. The rich, the powerful, the wealthy, these are from our youth those that we are told we need to be like.
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Isaiah 53:3)
How many people do you know that are Christlike, is the person that looks back in the mirror at you Christlike? The deceit is great, and nearly all encompassing, and many have fallen into this trap. “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” (Gal. 3:6) “And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores.” (Luke 16:20) It would be wise of you to contemplate what both of these men had in common, and why both of them will continuously be in the presence of the Most High in His eternal kingdom.