Do you ever feel ‘poor’? When the post-Christmas credit card statement pops through the door? When the end-of-year mortgage review makes you realise how much you’ve still to pay? When the swanky cousins flash around their expensive Christmas gifts, and you avoid showing what you got? But then you empty the fridge of all the out-of-date stuff you ‘absolutely needed to have in for Christmas’ and feel guilty that you can afford to waste so much, when so many in the world are barely surviving; and maybe you realise that by those standards, you are rich indeed.
It’s the same in spiritual terms. Look at someone who is really passionately going for God, and you feel embarrassed about your own devotional life, but a short conversation with someone who hasn’t really grasped how much God loves them, and maybe you’re not doing so badly after all.
We so love to compare ourselves. But as with everything else, Jesus turned it all on its head when he told his disciples, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:1-3). In other words, the less you think about your spiritual achievement, the richer you are spiritually, because there is more opportunity for God’s stuff. It’s never about whether I am doing better than him, or worse than her, because I shouldn’t be judging how he or she is doing!
It can only ever be about recognising, that however hard I try, however passionate I am about loving and serving God. it still all comes down to grace. But that, strangely, makes me incredibly, incredibly rich! I have it all! Without even trying, I have it all!
I’ve often said about understanding the workings of computers, that the more you know, the more you realise how little you know. And the same is true in God’s realm. As you grow closer to him, you begin to see how much more there is to fathom of his incomparably great love. I have barely begun, and yet I have it all. Rich indeed!