“Some people are so poor, all they have is money.” How are you blessed? – Lent day 40

“Some people are so poor, all they have is money.”  This quote is attributed to some guy named Patrick Meagher.  I came across this quote somewhere or other and it instantly grabbed me.

Some great rock anthems have been built around this.  The Beatles’ “Can’t Buy Me Love” (and awesomely awful 80s movie of the same name) is a gem.  Notorious B.I.G. taught us that mo’ money = mo’ problems.  (Thanks, Biggie.)  Michael Jackson even has some unusually cynical lyrics about money in his song, “Money.”  (His creative song titles were spent elsewhere.)

Jesus has something to say about money.  A lot, actually.  To the guy who had it all (money-wise), Jesus had this conversation.  [You can find the whole convo in Mark 10:17-31.]

Rich dude: “Teacher, what a guy gotta do to get inna Heaven?  Y’know, eternal life and what not?”  (I imagine this guy had a New Yorker’s accent.  I don’t know why.)

Jesus: “Live the commandments.  Love God, love people.”

Rich dude: “Check, check, and check.”

Jesus: “You’re missing something.  Sell all you have, give to the poor, and follow Me.”

Rich dude: “…”  {Rich dude leaves, a single tear rolls down his cheeck.}

Jesus (shaking His head): “Yo, dawgs, it is hard for people who feel blessed because of how much money they have to understand what the Kingdom of God is all about.”

The disciples: “But…but…?”

Jesus: “Someone is only blessed with eternal life if you leave everything to follow Me.”

It went something like that.

This is another example of Jesus flipping everything upside down.  The last will be first and the first will be last.  The rich are not truly blessed simply because they have material wealth attached to their name.  God doesn’t operate the same way this world does.

What makes us who we are?  Is it how much money we have at our disposal?  Like “God” said in the movie Bruce Almighty, “Some of the happiest people come home at the end of the day smelling to high heaven.”  Money doesn’t buy our identity.  It doesn’t make us who we are.  It has nothing to do with if we are blessed or successful.

Following Jesus does.  Being rooted in Christ is where we find our identity.

A little while ago, a friend asked me to explain what I have in common with the three most successful people I personally know.  It stumped me on a couple of levels.  I couldn’t bring up to mind who I determined to be more successful than the other, for one.  The other reason is that I don’t think that money is what determines our success.  Your opinion about your quality of life is what determines for you if you are successful.

Here are some questions to ask that I feel should determine how successful (or rather, blessed) you rate yourself.

  • Are your personal relationships well-attended?
  • Do you find contentment and purpose in your job or vocation?
  • Are you making a difference in the world?
  • Can you point to a tangible difference you make in the lives of people around you?

blessed - day 40 - 1

Our identity is found in Christ and how we live as we follow Jesus.  That is when we find out what it truly means to be blessed, which is different than the typical definition of success.

prophet - day 17 - 1


About Brian Swanson

Christ follower. Screw up. Stained with grace. Ruined by Jesus.
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