By Femi Aribisala
The rich man died, leaving all He had to his son Jabez. He willed him His houses, lands, cars, money; everything. Except that nobody told Jabez. He never even knew who his real father was. So, he lived the life of a criminal.
The gatemen moved into his houses by default. The drivers kept his cars. The banks continued to trade with his money. Jabez remained penniless; ignorant of the will of his father.
Entrance of the word
Until one day, Jesus told him. He told him his father owns the gold and the silver; to him belongs the cattle on a thousand hills. (Psalm 50:10). “Your name is not Jabez,” said the Good Shepherd. “Your name is Joshua. Go to Kingdom Bank and write a cheque in that name, and you will possess your possessions.”
The gatemen were distraught. The drivers became hyper-tensile. They promptly sent their pastors to warn Jabez not to be deceived. Should he dare go to Kingdom Bank, he would be arrested for false impersonation. Any idiot knows a Jabez is not a Joshua.
Jabez was confused. He was intimidated by the threats of his usurpers and afraid to stake a claim. Until one day, weather-beaten, he decided to risk it. He had nothing to lose but his miserable life.
He walked into the bank and sheepishly approached a cashier. “Please can I have five hundred dollars in Joshua’s name?” he said. The cashier did not even bother to look at him. He counted out the money in fresh clean notes and handed them to him. “Have a nice day,” he said.
Jabez took the money and ran. He ran out of the bank. He ran down the street. He kept on running until he was as far away from the bank as possible. He kept on running until he was sure nobody was following him. Then he looked down at the money in his hands. Five hundred dollars: all in Joshua’s name.
But it seemed everyone knew he had been to the bank. “Well-wishers” informed him he was wanted by the police for withdrawing money from Kingdom Bank under false pretenses. Jabez became a man on the run. But he kept thinking about that incredible episode when he collected five hundred dollars from his inheritance.
Soon, he was broke again. Five hundred dollars could only go so far. Until one day, he summoned up the courage once again and went back to the bank. Again, he asked for five hundred dollars in the name of Joshua.
No sirens rang out. Nobody shouted “thief; thief!” Instead, he got the same response: quick and courteous service and five-hundred dollars to the bargain.
The thieves and robbers did not let up. They sent people to tell him there was a computer malfunction in the bank. As long as he requested only five hundred dollars, the error would be undetected. But he had better not ask for anything more.
Let there be light
Joshua no longer believed them. The next time he went to the bank, he asked for five-thousand dollars in Joshua’s name. This time the cashier looked up and asked him a question: “In what denominations would you like the money?”
That day, Joshua finally woke up from his slumber. He prayed: “Father, thy will be done.” He took out an advert in the newspapers. “I, formerly known as Jabez, now declare that I am Joshua.”
The usurpers tried one last gambit. They sent word that he could get even more money in other names. He could get a million in the name of Sango. Joshua was not fooled. He filed a case against them in the High Court to recover his properties.
Riches in Glory
Make no mistake about it; the riches we have in Christ are not denominated in dollars and cents. Nevertheless, they are the true riches. (Luke 16:11). They are the riches that are laid up for us in heaven. Riches that do not sprout wings and fly away like an eagle into the sky. (Proverbs 23:5).
My life changed the day I finally realised that my real Father is the God who made the heavens and the earth. T.S.B. Aribisala, who I had always assumed is my father was only my guardian. This realisation came from Jesus who says: “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.” (Matthew 23:9).
With God as my real Father, I transitioned from being a son of man to a son of God. I became an heir of God and a joint heir with Christ. (Romans 8:17). I became a citizen of God’s heavenly kingdom.
The Almighty God Himself became my possession. It no longer makes any difference if I am poor or rich on earth. I am now blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly place in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3). And all things are mine. (1 Corinthians 3:21).
When I realised this, I became so angry that I had been deceived for so long. I had been fooled into believing I came from an impoverished and disease-stricken earthly lineage. From that day, my identity was transformed. I now know the truth that sets us free from sinful passions, earthly lusts, and carnal thoughts. (John 8:32). I am now able to contend with the help of the Holy Spirit for the faith that makes us partakers of God’s divine nature.
In the Old Testament, God looked at the heart. Samuel assumed God had chosen Eliab, the son of Jesse, as the new king of Israel. “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” (1 Samuel 16:7).
However, in the New Testament, God looks only at Christ. The question is this: “Is the person in Christ? Is he a new creation in Christ Jesus?” The answer might surprise you. Christ is in everybody. From God’s point of view, every man is now Jesus Christ. Only two people exist in the entire universe: God the Father and Jesus Christ.
Every man, woman, and child is now part of the body of Christ. “There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.” (Colossians 3:11).
So, God sees everybody the same way. When He looks at you and me, He only sees Jesus. Today, God sees everybody in the future and not in the present or the past, after all, “the end of a thing is better than its beginning.” (Ecclesiastes 7:8).
God sees what we will become rather than what we have been or what we are. He sees that all of us will be like His son Jesus because Jesus died for everybody. Therefore, Paul counsels: “From now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.” (2 Corinthians 5:16).
What this means is that you and I are no longer ourselves but Christ.