Read 2 Corinthians 8
Focus on verse 9
I don’t hear it quite as consistently any more when couples write their own marriage vows. Years ago when I got married we opted for the traditional version of the vows that included the lines “in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, till death does us part”. Over these past thirty some years that we have been married, we have experienced all but the the death part. Sickness, health, wealth, poverty – life has its ups and downs, and one of the things I have noticed is that the peak happiness quotient does not always coincide with the health and wealth times.
I suspect it is related to this pattern of oxymoronic platitudes that seems to accompany those who follow Jesus. According to what Paul writes in today’s reading perhaps it should not surprise us.
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. (v. 9)
Apparently the model Jesus laid down for us had a similar theme. Jesus left heaven (where HE had it all) to be miraculously born as a human into the family of a poor tradesman. (Joseph was a carpenter) Jesus never owned a home, or had a wife or biological family. He basically lived the life of a Rabbi who lived off what those who chose to follow Him who voluntarily give him. He gave up everything, including his life, so that we could have everything, including eternal life.
This is the pattern He challenges us to follow. This is not to suggest that Christians should never own anything or give all their possessions away to wander about like vagrants. Rather it shows us the attitude to have toward the stuff we have been blessed with, whether it is a little or a lot. That we value Him, and other people more than the stuff, that we willingly and gladly part with the stuff in order to bless people who have nothing. This is what Christianity should look like on the outside, because of Who we have on the inside.