One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing;
another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.
One can take this proverb negatively or positively. We look down on the person who pretends to be what he is not. We consider him foolish who pretends to have wealth he does not possess by spending himself in debt or going to great length to look like he has wealth. And we find the wealthy person a bore who pretends to be poor by complaining about costs and how little he has.
On the other hand, it is admirable not to let poverty get you down, but instead to live with the attitude of being rich by enjoying each day and using wisely what you have. And it is proper not to flaunt your wealth, living simply with the knowledge that wealth is fleeting.
To apply this proverb in the latter manner, what we really need is to be rich in Christ and poor in spirit. We need to own and rejoice in the riches that we have in Jesus Christ, for truly as such we are wealthy beyond all earthly means. And if we are poor in spirit; i.e. if we are humble about our own personal abilities and wealth, then all the more we will more freely exercise and enjoy Christ’s riches. In Christ we are indeed rich, though we may have no earthly wealth; and without Christ we are indeed impoverished, though we may have all the wealth in the world.
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