Monday, September 17, 2007

A word on poverty and riches

We may not judge a person’s character by his position in life. Certainly, poverty is no sign of grace, for there are many who bring themselves to it by their own wickedness; but on the other hand, wealth is no sign of divine favor, for many there be who will have their portion in this life only, and have no inheritance in the life everlasting. As a general rule piety is more often found among the poor than among the rich; and in persecuting times, it is almost of absolute necessity that a clean conscience should involve poverty.

Let this encourage any here who are just now very low in circumstances. You are where prophets and saints have been. God can lift you up, and would do so if it were really for your good. Be more concerned to act like a Christian in your present condition than to escape from it. Remember, however poor you are, your Master was poorer, and that whatever else you have not, you still have a share in his love. Seek to be rich in faith if you be poor in all besides. You can honor God much in your present condition, you can learn much in it, you can prove much the divine faithfulness, you can exercise much sympathy towards others; therefore be not impatient. Since other men both greater and better than you have trodden this rough road, bow before the determination of God’s providence, and ask for grace to be patient under your affliction.

From a sermon entitled "The Filling of Empty Vessels."

Photo by Lida Rose; some rights reserved.

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