Daily Devotion | Day 325
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9, NKJV).
Some of the saints in Judea had been hit hard by a severe famine that had swept through the Roman Empire. Earlier, Agabus, a prophet from Jerusalem, had predicted this would happen. Upon hearing of the plight of the Christians in Judea, the believers in Antioch pledged and offered material support. When the offering was ready, they sent it by Paul and Barnabas (Acts 11:27-30). It did not end there.
Paul kept alive his passion to help those affected by the famine. As he preached the Gospel in different towns and cities, he urged believers to send contributions to support their brethren in Judea. When he could not be physically present, he sent some of his co-workers, for example, Titus and Timothy, to receive the contributions (Acts 24:17; Romans 15:25-27).
The church in Corinth was one of the communities where Paul organized contributions for the saints in Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 16:1-4). In his second letter to this community, he reminded them that he was counting on their generosity. He spoke to them at length about the benefits of generous giving (2 Corinthians 8:1-24; 9:1-15). It is within this context that he wrote the words in today’s opening passage (8:9). Let us find out what it means for us as we conclude our series on “Abundance in the Father’s House.”
According to Paul, Jesus was rich but became poor for our sake. As the eternal Son of God, Jesus possessed infinite riches. But when He became a man like us, He took the form of a slave (Philippians 2:5-8). He did not take full advantage of His riches as God’s Son. If He did, He would have lived in a palace in Jerusalem and walked on streets made of gold instead of the dusty streets of Judea. But He chose to live as one who was poor, although He was not. He made Himself that way for our sake.
Paul tells us why. Jesus became poor, he says, that we “through His poverty might become rich.” This means Jesus wants us rich. Better yet, He has made us rich. Our risen Lord is rich spiritually and materially (Revelation 5:12). And so are we, because He made us so. We are joint-heirs with Him (Romans 8:17). We should, therefore, not be abashed about being rich. Nor should we hesitate to ask the Father for a manifestation of material abundance in our lives.
Some attempt to ‘spiritualize’ what Paul said in this passage, so that it has no material significance. But that is unfortunate. In the passage we are discussing, Paul’s message is specifically about material riches and abundance of possessions. When he said Christ became poor that we might become rich, he was referring (though not exclusively) to material riches. This explains other statements he made, for example: “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (9:8). Here again, he is speaking of material abundance and sufficiency.
Evil people have given wealth a bad name, but being rich is not a bad thing. It is a blessing, a blessing which should be celebrated, encouraged and expected in our own lives. In this regard, it is unwise for us to shame or criticize people who are wealthy. Similarly, if you are rich, there is no point hiding it. Let it be known what the Lord has done for you. If people have a problem with you being rich, so be it. Your testimony will encourage others to believe in the Father’s provision.
Abundance is part of our inheritance in Christ. It is a blessing from our good Father. Let us welcome it with gratitude. Amen.
For further study: Psalm 112:1-10 and Job 42:9-17