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Let them eat cake!

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A while back, my friend asked me a question. We were discussing Christian living in a materialistic world. As the money we receive is a blessing from God. Where do a Christian draw the line in terms of buying things? What about brand names?

In Matthew 5, Jesus taught the His disciples the Beatitudes…

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 5:3).

In an online discussion, I wrote:

In the book, Kingdom Ethics, Glen Stassen and David Gushee on page 38 illustrate the poor in the first Beatitude as “oppressed by the rich and powerful, powerless, needy, humble, lowly, pious.”


Compare to majority of the world, I live in a society of abundant and great wealth. And the meal I am about to have most people will long for. One can see that compare to what Jesus describe as poor, my life is far from it. As Jesus “embraced the social and religious outcast” (pg. 39) and God is actively deliver and the poor, where do I fit in? How do I, as a follower of Jesus, be a participant in God’s reign?

I had a discussion with a few brothers in my fellowship. The discussion led to Christians living in extravagant lifestyle. The majority of the discussion becomes a topic of the degree of extravagant. How do one define one’s lifestyle is extravagant? A Christian making $30,000, compare to the rest of the world living little more than a dollar a day seems to be very wealthy. If this Christian lives in a neighborhood of millionaires, than his/her lifestyle becomes “lowly”. As you can see, this can be quite subjective.

Or is it more of an attitude towards Christian living? The attitude of relying on God’s guidance to give and help those who are needy and those who are poor.

John Wesley once said “Gain all you can, save all you can, give all you can.

I don’t think this is ever truer in a Christian in a resource rich society.

I also think the focus is on the attitude. Lately, I’ve been troubled by the realization that perhaps I am not as sensitive as the needs of the poor as I think I do. What if, there are those who are poor in spirit around me, yet I simply not see them.

It reminds me of the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).

Am I the priest or the Levite who saw the man and simply passed by on the other side?

Simply too busy to care for things that I need to do? Or do I have eyes and do not see?

Or am I the Samaritan who is able to use money generously and drew close to the Kingdom of God?

I am also reminded of what happened in France in the 1700s. The peasants were starving. When the princess was told about the situation and they had no bread to eat, she replied:

Well, let them eat cake!

I just hope that through focusing on God, that the HS will convicted my heart and I will see, be participative in His Grace, and be blessful to those who are poor in spirit.

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