A rich man’s wealth is his strong city;
the poverty of the poor is their ruin.
First, consider this proverb as an observation. The rich man uses wealth to build financial security, and if used wisely, to build a stable, productive life. The poverty of the poor can, and often does, break the spirit and well-being of the poor. They become entrapped in a cycle of poverty.
Now, consider this proverb spiritually. The spiritual riches of the Christian – “the riches of God’s glorious inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:18) – is his strong city. He is able to withstand the struggles of life because he knows his inheritance. When we know who we are, what we possess, and what is our destiny, then we can endure whatever troubles may come our way. The riches of God form the strong city walls.
But for the one spiritually poor, who does not possess the gospel and its blessings, then such poverty truly is their ruin. Just look about you at the hardness, the pain, the myriad of troubles that beset those who do not know the love of Christ, who have no hope of an eternal inheritance.
A woman came to me for counsel on how to deal with her mother and sister who, according to her, mistreated her. She was a Christian and they were not. I counseled her not to resent them, but all the more to pity them and pray for them. She was wealthy; they were poor. Let us have compassion on the poor – yes, those who are financially poor, but all the more for those poor in the gospel. Instead of resenting your colleagues who try you, pray with compassion for them; pray that God would use you to show the riches they might have in Christ.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By D. Marion Clark. © 2022 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org