Thursday, September 06, 2007

Life is a Paradox: Poor is Rich

A paradox is a seemingly contradictory statement. In the world of communications one oft repeated paradox is “less is more”. On the surface it would seem that more is more. But, with respect to oral communication or written communication most of the time we actually communicate more if we say less.

What we have found out is that attention span, comprehension and retention seem to work against voluminous communication. In fact, many people have tried to reduce profound information down to a “sound bite” or phrase because it can be easily digested and remembered. Therefore, less is more.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3

Here is the paradox. Being poor in spirit is not being lazy or indifferent. A person who is poor in spirit has no sense of self-sufficiency and recognizes he is spiritually bankrupt. That “poverty awareness” moves him to desire God. To desire God is to gain God and to gain God is to receive life’s greatest treasure. Poor is rich.

Let me say it another way. Suppose a mother is frustrated with her teenage son. The young man doesn’t follow through on school projects and underperforms with his grades. He sometimes hangs out with questionable friends. He sits around playing video games instead of working a part time job. He’s on the phone or instant messaging girls so much that he rarely engages with the rest of the family. Most of the mother and son conversations have an edge to them and most of the time they don’t enjoy being around each other.

Then one night the son is involved in a car accident. The mother is called to the hospital where the son is in critical condition and the odds are that he’s not going to make it. The mother is faced with the picture of what life will look like without her son. In the poverty of that moment the mother realizes how rich she is to have her son in her life.

You don’t have to have tragedy take place in order to live in that poverty. You can choose to envision or imagine what life would be like without whomever or whatever and that state of poverty propels you into a state of wealth. That is, you understand how rich you are because you have that person in your life or you have health or you have opportunity, or that you have God.

May you be blessed with “poverty” today and thereby enjoy your “riches”.

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