"Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor" (2 Corinthians 8:9)
The poorest man that ever walked the dirt roads of earth! Born in poverty, reared in obscurity, yet He enriched all mankind! For twenty years He worked as a carpenter in that village which bore the scorn of men: "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?"
As far as we know He never possessed the value of one penny. In the wilderness without food, by Jacob's well without water, in the crowded city without a home-thus He lived, and loved and died!
"The foxes find rest, and the birds have their nests in the shade of the forest tree, But they couch was the sod, O Thou Son of God, in the desert of Galilee."
He preached without price, and wrought miracles without money. His parish was the world. He sought breakfast from a leafing fig tree. He ate grain as He walked through the fields of corn. Without money, did I say? He sent Peter to the sea for the fish that they might have money for the tax! He had no cornfields or fisheries, yet He could spread a table for five thousand and have bread and fish to spare! No beautiful carpets to walk on, yet the waters supported Him!
So poor was He that He needed bear His own cross through the city, till fainting He fell. His value was thirty pieces of silver-the price of a slave, the lowest estimate of human life. But, on God's side, no lower price than His infinite agony could have made possible our Redemption! When He died, few men mourned; but a black crepe was hung over the sun. His crucifixion was the crime of crimes! It was not merely human blood that was spilled on Calvary's Hill!
- Chas. E. Cowman (Springs in the Valley, 1939)
He did not have a house where He could go when it was night - when other men went down small streets where children watched with eager eyes, each one assured of shelter in the town. The Christ sought refuge anywhere at all: A house, an inn, the roadside, or a stall! He borrowed the boat in which He rode that day. He talked to throngs along the Eastern lake; It was a rented room to which He called the chosen twelve the night he bade them break the loaf with Him, and He rode, unafraid, another's colt in that triumph-parade. A man from Arimathea had a tomb, where Christ was placed when nails had done their deed. Not ever in the crowded days He knew, Did He have coins to satisfy a need.
They should not matter, these small things I crave.
Make me forget them, Father, and be brave!
- The Transient by Helen Welshimer
I'll pose the question: if the greatest example of generosity relied fully on His father to provide for his every need (even when it seems He went without), how dare we expect a life of comfort & plenty? In a world loaded up with selfishness and greed, God help us to live generously!
(Photo: three boys in the hood - taken at a sugar plantation in the Dominican Republic this past summer with Compassion. These were my boys!)