James 1:9-11(New Century Version)
9 Believers who are poor should take pride that God has made them spiritually rich. 10 Those who are rich should take pride that God has shown them that they are spiritually poor.
The rich will die like a wild flower in the grass. 11 The sun rises with burning heat and dries up the plants. The flower falls off, and its beauty is gone. In the same way the rich will die while they are still taking care of business.
There is a huge place in God's heart for the poor. Many times in the New Testament, whether in the Gospels or in the following books of letters, we are confronted with the fact that those who may be poor in material wealth are usually rich in God's kingdom. In contrast, the opposite is said for those who are rich in material goods.
In the Western world, and especially in the United States, most of us have been so blessed in possessions, that our pursuit of just keeping up with each other materially has made us spiritually poor. When I read thses verses, I think that it is speaking to us. For most of us, our spiritual experience with God is relegated to a few short prayers and maybe an hour of church on Sundays.
In the Third World, believers in Christ are consummed in their desire to be close to God. I saw a great example of this on a mission trip I took to Mexico. We were visiting the poor in a shanty town of tin and cardboard homes on barren slopes and surrounded by trash. The pastor that was our guide introduced us to a poor man that was "on fire" for the Lord. The man greeted us with a beeming smile on his face.
He eagerly invited us into his ramshackle home to show us around; his little cardboard shack was decorated with bible verses and images of Jesus, and you could easily tell that the dirt floor would turn to mud whnever it rained. He pointed out his meager possessions, and then expressed to us how blessed he was to have been given such a wonderful home. In his joy, he began to sing songs of praise in a beautiful baritone voice; I can still remember his joyful songs and gracious smile to this day.
We are super wealthy as compared to this man, and yet we have a very hard time being joyful about our circumstances, and the things that we have. Each and every thing that we have has been given to us by God, yet we rarely give Him praise for doing so; we have a hard time giving Him the little praise that we do. Because of this we are spiritually very poor, and if we are not careful, our richness can lead us away from doing the things of God.
If your focus is on material pursuits, rather than on becoming a follower of Christ, it is time that you gained the wealth that can only be found in Jesus. If you are already a Christ follower, but you are so pre-occupied with worldy pursuits that you have strayed away from Him, its time you came back. There will be a day when we all will be judged for how we have done with what we have been given by God. I know that the joyful poor man in Mexico will be richly rewarded and happy on that day. Be sure that on that day you are too.
Photo from "Mighty Men Are Going to Zambia!", 9-12-2010,findyourowncalcutta.blogspot.com