Several months ago, a young woman accepted Christ as her Savior and embarked on a journey to Africa to serve the poorest of the poor, the “least of these.” Her zeal and love for Jesus was, and is, inspiring to me. She is willing to do literally anything for Him. I watched her progress on Facebook, fascinated. I admired what she was doing. But suddenly she posted a status that troubled me, and I have seen many statements to the same effect by her, and others, since. She said, and I paraphrase here, that she was sitting at the gate waiting to board her flight and watching all the first class passengers who "thought they were better than her" get to board the plane first. But, she asserted, they don't have what she has...knowledge that she is going to serve Jesus and give her all for him.
Do you see the fault in that? I turned to my husband and said, “I guarantee if someone offered to buy her a first class ticket she would gladly take it and praise God for His provision.”
Six months later, I kid you not, that is exactly what happened.
Why is it any more the provision of God for her to be given a first class ticket at no charge to her than it is for the same God to allow a man to be well-rewarded financially for his job and be able to purchase that same ticket with his own God-given blessings?
What about families who adopt multitudes of kids, a wonderful thing, but spend the rest of their parenting years begging for money to pay medical and dental bills? They preach against the selfishness and over-consumption of our society, but flaunt their new tattoos or piercings (that have spiritual significance, of course) on Facebook. They can't afford to get braces for their teenager but they are beautifully inked. They tell their friends they should not buy those designer shoes because that money could have fed an orphan for 6 months, but if someone buys a pair for them...well that is different, I guess. I can't be the only one who sees something very wrong with this.
Think about it. We are called to obey the Lord whether in poverty or in plenty. It is God who blesses financially or relationally or physically. Many people work endless hours and barely eke out a living, while others are well compensated for the same labor. Is it the fault of the wealthy? The government? The church? Could it be possible that, except in cases of corruption or dishonest gain, (Which are RAMPANT in every country, by the way. I absolutely acknowledge that.) that God has set us within a certain neighborhood or facet of society because He desires us to be missionaries within our sphere of influence? Do you remember Queen Esther?
He calls us to serve him wholeheartedly, to love him enough to be willing to give it all up, whatever “it” may be, and go at a moment's notice. But the sacrifice He requires can appear very different from one Christian to another, depending on where God has called them to serve. Some are required to sell all their possessions and give to the poor. Some are required to be a light in what can be a godless society...sticking out like a sore thumb in certain circles because their families are different, the way they treat and relate to others is different, and the causes and/or ministries to whom they give and serve are different. Others are required to live somewhere in the middle, but we are all called to share Jesus wherever we are and be willing to step out of that place into a whole new place of ministry and service, again at a moment's notice, without looking back.
The class warfare that has surfaced in Christian circles is not of God. We are to be content with where He has called us, wherever that may be. We are to be good stewards and generous and recognize that every blessing of God is given to us so that we can use it for His kingdom, for His glory. Whether that blessing is money, time, talent, or a combination of these we are to be faithful in our use of them and not compare ourselves to others.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Phil 4:12
Our world does not consist of “inherently evil rich” versus “inherently good poor.” We all have the same sin nature, the flesh that is constantly at war with our spirit. We all, without Jesus, are filthy with sin. And I believe it is so important to acknowledge that, if we are followers of Christ, we are all one family. Yes, American consumption has skyrocketed. Of course we spend too much money on frivolities. Absolutely those who have more are able, and should, give more. God has made that very clear in His Word. (See James chapter 2)
But where is the line?
At what point does rich and poor divide? At the poverty level? Is it determined by the size of your house or in which neighborhood you live? Is it the size of your savings account or the amount of money in your childrens' college funds?
Who determines that line? The government? The church?
What if God places His people in every socio-economic level because He knows that across the board, from the wealthiest to the poorest, there are souls destined for Hell that desperately need to hear about, see, and touch "Jesus with skin on?"
After all, isn't our first calling as followers of Christ to go out and make disciples? Is there not a mission field all around us? I do not think (and I don't believe you do, either) that He meant we were to only reach out to the poor. Whether rich or poor, Hell is going to be more awful than any of us dare to imagine. I don't want anyone to go there, not the poverty-stricken African or the wealthy British aristocrat. I don't want the businessman on the golf course or the child who suffers in slavery to die without Jesus.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matt. 28:19-20