Monday, January 03, 2011

The Promise of His Coming (34)

It's a well known formula for TV ratings success. Take someone who is very rich, and put them in an alien environment, living with poor people for a week or two. There are several varieties, such as The Secret Millionaire, who then gives some of their money to help community projects or poor families; or there was the Channel 4 programme where a rich family and a poor family were partnered and eyes were open all around at the differences in standards of living (although I can't remember it's name right now).

It might be easy to question the motives of those who take part - seeking fame, recognition, guilty conscience, or a host of other reasons, but in a small way, the Secret Millionaire is a picture of the gospel, as we find it described by Paul:

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9)

Jesus was the original secret millionaire, the one who owned everything, and ruled over it from his throne in heaven. Yet for our sake, he gave it all up, becoming poor, becoming a human with a poor job and nowhere to lay his head, and ultimately dying naked upon the cross, the lowest of the low.

And all so that we might become rich. This can so easily be misinterpreted as the health and wealth gospel, but it's certainly not what is promised here. We become rich in the grace of God, rich in sharing in the inheritance of Jesus, the whole world, so that, as our hearts are moved by God's grace for us, our hearts overflow in grace towards those in need. It's why Paul writes these words here, in the misspells instructions about helping the Christian brothers and sisters experiencing hardship at the present time.

Jesus gave up all he had for us and our sake, that we might share in it. It's the heart of the gospel - will we also share God's grace with others?

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