MONEY IN YOUR POCKET – Kingdom Economic Recovery / Poverty Eradication Program (Luke 4:14-19)
In our previous discussion we looked at some effects of poverty and our rich heritage which is traced to Abraham. We also studied Jesus’ manifesto which is focused on poverty eradication (Luke 4:14-19). Outside the Garden of Eden, Adam became the first poor man and Abraham was the first rich man mentioned in the Bible. By nature we are all descendants of Adam (Rom. 5:12), but we are descendants of Abraham by faith (Gal. 3:7-9). If our father of faith, Abraham was rich we cannot be poor rather we will manifest the rich heritage of Abraham. “If you are the sons of Abraham you do the works of Abraham” (John 8:39). As we seek to eradicate poverty from our lives, we will do our studies today with profiles from three characters in the Bible; Adam, Abraham and Jesus Christ.
THE ROOT OF POVERTY
God created Adam and placed him in the Garden of Eden, a place of comfort and without lack. The description of the Garden in the Bible portrays a rich environment (Gen 2:11-12). This is a clear indication that God’s will for man is not poverty. However through the deception of the serpent; the devil; Adam dishonoured God and brought a curse of poverty on the human race (Gen. 3:1-11). A curse is an imposition of a negative force upon one’s head whose end is destruction.
ADAM AND POVERTY – Genesis 3:7, 9-11, 17-19
Poverty or “Povertitise” like any other disease, is associated with some symptoms. The first sign of Adam’s sin was NAKEDNESS. When Adam sinned and God called him, he was hiding because he said he was naked and afraid. The chief evidence of poverty is NAKEDNESS. Nakedness renders one vulnerable. One is exposed to all manner of evil attacks, manipulation or control. Whereas riches is a defense (Eccl. 7:12), poverty renders one defenseless and weak. Money is a shelter to one’s nakedness (Eccl. 10:19). Subsequently, God told Adam, because of your sin, “Cursed is the ground for thy sake.” The ground became hard; the ground was the basic assert or capital for productivity. Adam’s productive space was cursed. The curse of poverty renders one stagnant, there is no growth. One’s heaven is closed and there is no rain to soften the ground (See Deut. 20:23). In addition, God told Adam that only thorns and thistles will be produced for him. He will have no alternative but to eat the herb of the fields and eat in sorrow. Herb in this context is not referring to herbal medicine or vegetables. It means what one desires to eat; one will not get to eat it. To eat in sorrow also means one will eat what one does not want to eat. One’s soul becomes lean and weary when one eats in sorrow. This was how poor Adam became outside the Garden. The poverty curse on Adam manifests in three folds; sickness, poverty and ends in death (See Deut. 28:15-68).
ABRAHAM – RICH AND RIGHTEOUS – Gen 12:2, Gen. 15:6
God’s church cannot be poor and vulnerable. There is nothing to celebrate in Adam for his poverty status but so much to celebrate in Abraham for his rich status (Gen 13:2). None of the poverty symptoms can be traced in Abraham; therefore, God used a role model in rich Abraham to connect us to our salvation. God preached the gospel to Abraham long before Jesus came. The gospel was that, God told Abraham “I will bless you to be a blessing and all nations will be blessed through you by faith” (Gal. 3:7-9). When we are rich, we can reach out to others. We can only give what we have. Everything about our salvation enriches and this is linked to Abraham (See Gal. 3:13-14).
JESUS AND POVERTY ON THE CROSS – Matt. 27:32-51
The crucifixion of Jesus, among others was to deliver us from the curse of poverty imposed on Adam at the fall. We were supposed to be hung on the cross for our sins but Jesus went there for us (See 2 Cor. 5:21). The curse of poverty on Adam was nailed to the cross. Jesus was crucified NAKED; there was no cloth around His waist. Here we see the first symptom of poverty being nailed on the cross. During the earthly ministry of Jesus, He was never seen wearing a crown yet at his crucifixion they forced a crown made of thorns and thistles on His head representing the cursed produce of the cursed ground. Jesus was offered vinegar instead of the water He asked for. Remember that as a result of the curse one will not get what one desires. There was an earthquake at Jesus’ crucifixion which broke the hard ground to end the curse on one’s productive space. We can see all the signs of the curse of poverty imposed on Adam nailed to the cross. Jesus was crucified therefore, to take away our sins and give us righteousness; simultaneously poverty was also crucified that we might become rich (2 Cor. 5:21, 2 Cor. 8:9). Salvation ultimately is to make us rich and righteous; this was the mission of Jesus which is clearly stated in His manifesto in Luke 4:14-19. On top of this manifesto was to eradicate poverty, Jesus did is so well that when John the Baptist sent his disciples to ask Jesus if He was the Messiah, Jesus responded that the evidence was there for them to see. The blind have received their sight, the lame are walking and the gospel is been preached to the poor. (Mathew 11:5). The gospel is not to make one poorer. The gospel enriches.
Jesus emptied Himself on the cross; He exchanged His riches for our poverty (2Cor. 8:9). The gospel is to make us both rich and righteous. Believers are blessed with the riches of father Abraham (Gal. 3:7:9). Declare to yourself, “I am an embodiment of riches; I am rich and righteous.”
Point of reflection:
What is the root of poverty?
What are the signs of poverty?
When did Jesus empty Himself?
“I am an embodiment of riches; I am rich and righteous”