By Femi Aribisala
While the world is rich in money, it is poor in mercy.
Jesus says to his disciples: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.” (John 15:16).
For what cause were you born and why was it necessary for you to be born (again) a second time? Were you born spiritually so you can prosper materially, as many teach erroneously? Were you born a second time so you can make a lot of money, build mansions all over the world, and reach the pinnacle of your career? Or were you born again to actualise the spiritual aspects of your nature, even if this involves suffering shame for Christ’s name?
Peter says to the believer: “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, (God’s) own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9).
How does the believer proclaim the praises of God? Is it by what you have or by what you are? God says: “I am what I am.” (Exodus 3:14). He does not say: “I am what I have.”
Jesus says one of the reasons why the believer is still in the world is to determine if he can be trusted with true riches. Thus, Jesus looked at his twelve disciples and decided to make the thief, Judas, the treasurer. Being foolish, Judas used every opportunity to steal time and again from the common purse. Little did he know that in so doing, he failed a simple test. Had he not stolen, he would have qualified to be entitled to true riches.
True riches are those that endure; the type that don’t grow wings and fly away. Jesus asks: “And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Luke 16:12-13).
According to Jesus, money does not belong to the believer. It belongs to someone else. What then belongs to the believer? God himself and the kingdom of God belong to the believer. As God proclaimed concerning the priests and the Levites who were representatives of the modern church in the Old Testament: “It shall be, in regard to their inheritance, that I am their inheritance. You shall give them no possession in Israel, for I am their possession.” (Ezekiel 44:28).
Glory of the world
God blessed Solomon because he did not ask for the world or for the worldly. These are what the Gentiles seek. God blessed him because he sought wisdom to understand kingdom dynamics and to rule according to kingdom principles.
“God said to Solomon: ‘Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or honour or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life- but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge my people over whom I have made you king- wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honour, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like.” (2 Chronicles 1:11-12).
Therefore those who understand kingdom dynamics seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and the kingdom of God is spiritual: it is not physical.
What is the glory of man in this world? What are those things about which he makes his boast? What are those things that are the pride of his life? A rich man glories in his possessions. A strong man glories in his strength. A powerful man glories in his influence. A wise man glories in his wisdom. Some glory in their connections, some in their family background, some in their looks, and others in their experience.
But what is the glory of the believer in Christ? What is the glory of the spiritual man? What is the glory of that man who has been born of God? He glories in the fact that he knows God and that God knows him. He glories in the cross, which paved the way for his reconciliation with God. He glories in the name of Jesus.
Glory of God
The glory of man is often tangible, physical and earthy. But the glory of God is denominated in spiritual currency. Man is an instrument for the manifestation of the glory of God. Jesus says God has deposited light, which is another word for glory, in the church. Now he enjoins us to allow the glory to be made manifest. He says: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).
When Moses asked to see the glory of God, he saw no pride of life. He saw no houses, no lands, and no riches as men call riches. But he saw the riches of the glory of God. He saw mercy, he saw grace, he saw goodness and long-suffering. These are the riches of the glory of God. God is rich in mercy. God has riches of goodness and forbearance and long-suffering.
The design of salvation is for God to display the riches of his glory in the life of believers: “That he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom he called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles.” (Romans 9:23-24).
Believers are not called to showcase the glories of the world. We are called to show forth the glories of the kingdom of God, which are clearly absent in the world. While the world is rich in money, it is poor in mercy. While the United States, for example, is awash with dollars, it is short of goodness. The world is lacking in righteousness, in truth and in compassion. Therefore Isaiah laments that: “Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.” (Isaiah 59:14).
The believer is born again to salt the earth. He salts it with the fruit of the Spirit of God. He supplies the missing quotient of love, joy, and peace. He salts the earth with the riches of goodness. He is kindhearted, honest, faithful and just. The world is starved of these attributes. But they are the ornaments of the kingdom of God.
Look around you. There are people in your neighbourhood who are in great need of mercy. There are people next door that are in need of compassion. People need truth. People need the righteousness of God. Paul says: “My God shall supply what you need, according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19). Believers are the riches in glory of God. This makes it our responsibility to supply what the world lacks.