Embracing Poverty–Embracing Prosperity

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“The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered.”  Proverbs 11:25

Now, I’m just wondering how poverty and prosperity can be swirling around in my head at the same time.  Here I am, still thinking along the lines of Your poverty, Lord, and I’m still thinking about the Macedonians and Paul’s words.  And I went one direction from a current story I heard about in someone’s life and found I had some faulty information.  But then I found that the precept was still true, even though some faulty info led me to the right verses.  So now I discarded the faulty “stuff” and dug deeper into Your word.  And that took me to Moses speaking to the people of Israel in Deuteronomy 28:2.  And I know this is not a faulty example.

Moses is telling the nation of Israel, the people who God had rescued from the depths of poverty and slavery in Egypt, that blessings await them.  They have a choice to receive the blessings of God in His promised land or to keep living in the poverty of the Egyptian mindset.  “And all these blessings shall come on you, and you shall grasp them, if you will listen and obey the voice of the Lord your God.”

That word “generous” in Proverbs and that word “blessed” in Deuteronomy are actually the same Hebrew word “berakah.”  And it really is about the blessing of God.   But what is the blessing of God?  What if the blessing of God is His all encompassing presence in our life?  What if the blessing of God is about His provision of Himself to us in every way and time and circumstance that we need?  I love Psalm 34.  “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.  My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad.  Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together!  I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.  Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.  This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.  The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and delivers them.  Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!  Blessed (how happy!) is the man who takes refuge in Him!  Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints, for those who fear Him have no lack!…”

See, the Lord is telling us, and David understood, and so did Moses, that God is a generous Benefactor.  His giving is designed to keep giving.  When He sheds His goodness on me, that goodness must flow out to others and….back to Him.  God gives abundant berakah- blessing and with what He invests in us, we are to invest back.  That’s the word that David used. “I will bless the Lord at ALL times.  I will ‘barak’ the Lord at all times.  I will not only acknowledge who He is and what He is doing in my life, but I will demonstrate it before the whole world.  And those others out there who have humble hearts to see, will also see and experience God’s blessing through me.  And together we will bless the Lord back!”  How exciting is that!

Read Psalm 34 again and see the blessings that God gives.  Read His word.  I want to know and remember and drill Your goodness into my head and into my heart.  I want to experience Your deliverance.  I want to taste and see Your goodness as I trust in You.  I want to see my true needs met.  I want to look on You like Moses and I want my face to shine.  I want people to see something that resembles You in this poor person.  They don’t have to see me at all.  I’d rather them see beautiful You.

So, if I water, I will be watered.  What does that really mean?  Well, I think it means something more than just doing good things for others or meeting their physical needs.  All that is temporary.  It’s important, but temporary.  There must be something about eternal water.  Is there?  John shares the secret.  Jesus anounced in Jerusalem, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink.  He that believes on Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”   Jeremiah warned us not to forsake the Fountain of Living Water.  He warned us not to try to build our own cysterns.  There is only One Water that satisfies thirst forever.

Yes, God does good things.  You, Lord, provide the sun over those who are good and those who are evil.  It keeps us both warm and our planet alive.  You provide the rain and our food, both to those who love you and those who don’t.  You are compassionate to all.  Not all those who were healed by You, Jesus, remained to worship You, yet You healed them anyway.  Your lovingkindness is ever flowing to humankind.  That’s one of Your blessings.  And since You extend Your lovingkindness to me, I am to extend it to others.  How can I not?  You dwell in me if I am Yours.  I have this spectacular cup of water to share.  Only my water source never stops flowing.  I never run out!

So, maybe the liberal soul, isn’t just a generous soul.  Maybe the liberal soul is a soul filled with the blessing of the presence of God, of You.  That kind of person, the one who trusts in You like Moses urged and like David compelled us, well, that kind of person will be “fattened full of God.”  That kind of person will be anointed with the One he filled up with.  That kind of person will be satisfied, fully in You.  And because that kind of person is satisfying and soaking others in Your living water that is flowing from them, which is flowing straight from You, they are continually being watered again by You.

Lord, I may not have much but I am rich because I have You and You are more than enough.  You are everything I need in every moment, in every trial, in every joy.   I am prosperous because the One who causes me to bear fruit and yield lives in me and empowers me in Him.  In You, I am generous because Your generosity flows from me.  And unless I let You water me, I can’t truly water others.  But I love to let You water me.  I am desperately thirsty for Your water.  I can’t get enough.  Lord, continually satisfy me as I soak You up.  But don’t let me just be a soaker.  May I continually take the water You give me and disperse it abroad to those who are thirsty.  Because the greatest blessing comes back when I see that You have used me, who has nothing to give without You, to encourage someone else.  What a blessing to see that You have made me a fit and useful vessel of Your love and power.

So, yesterday I was driving, and I’ve been trying to think of an example of someone who watered someone else in a totally selfless way.  Because I wanted to overcome the flawed example I had come across.  And while I was driving, Rebekah popped into my head.   And there was Rebekah, offering water to Abraham’s servant.  But she didn’t stop there.  She offered to water all his camels until their thirst was quenched!  That’s a lot of water.  Rebekah had made this a prosperous journey for the servant by watering with the generosity of her Creator.

I want to water like that, Lord, beyond what is expected.  I want to give of myself through You like that and even more.  I want to make others feel prosperous by the generosity of myself that I “spend” on them.  But I can’t do it alone.  To truly prosper them, it has to be from You and in You.  So let me be swimming in the water of Your presence so that I have everything I need to meet the needs of those around me, even the needs they are praying about that I don’t happen to know, but You do.  So teach me to embrace Your poverty so that I can embrace others in Your prosperity.

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