The clover club was an elite group I belonged to in the third grade. We did not last very long. The host of other special groups I’ve belonged to over the past years is a short list. Being selective of who you rummage through thought with is very important.
On the road to a stronger financial profile my Instagram feed is now a buzz with various financial gurus. One set called the “Finance Twins” who use cute little “bitmojis" to get their point across. I am not direct messaging to ask them who their target audience is but I can guess. In a recent meme they depicted a set of “twins”, one “Rich” and the other “Wealthy” with their net worth listed underneath each picture. The “Rich”’s net worth was 15K and the “Wealthy”, 1.2M. The “Rich” bitmoji is dressed in hundreds of dollars worth of clothing and a bag worth five thousand dollars. Woah, first of all, I thought those bags were a joke and personally cannot comprehend a $5,000 bag unless it turns into some sort of transportation device or blender. I could justify a $5,000 bag that turns into a blender. That’s highly convenient merchandising. The “Wealthy” bitmoji is dressed in around two hundred dollars worth of clothing and is not carrying a bag - this hypothetical situation is intended to depict something which I am borrowing for a…you guessed it, metaphor. It is not really a metaphor. It is more a look at net worth.
My Spiritual wealth far surpasses any sort of physical wealth I might accrue while on this Earth. My Spiritual wealth is and forever will be in the person of Christ. Physically, monetarily, familialy, all is still “like a vapor that appears for a little while then vanishes” James 4:14b. Eternal wealth, intrinsic wealth which springs from the well of Christ’s Spirit is the “inheritance” first found on this Earth. Ephesians 1:14 states that "the Holy Spirit is the downpayment for our inheritance”. We walk around with a wealth to a degree not replicable in this Creation. This is where the follower of Christ can become very careless.
We throw around the “first world” awareness in the United States rather commonly, even in not that affluent areas - there is a cognizance of being in a first world nation. While an individual might be poverty stricken the apparent opportunity to not be poverty stricken still exists. Our poverty is still well off in relation to parts of the developing world wherein we have access to resources and luxuries not often afforded in other places, like running water and consistent electricity. I visited the Dollar Tree for the first time in a while. I had not lived next to one convenient enough to walk to and had done my shopping online or through other merchants. This Dollar Tree is full of nearly everything one could need in a pinch including dish-ware and frozen food. I walked out shook and angry. The United States associates a large amount of stigma with poverty and yet, the people who routinely shop at the Dollar Tree do have some form of a quality of life at least more than the stigma possibly makes it out to be. I am using the conditional intentionally. Drawing broad strokes across poverty is not fair to anyone.
From the outside it could look as though the wealth of a follower of Christ is low. This “turn the other cheek”, “servant leadership”, and “if someone asks for your cloak give him your coat too” sort of outlook can appear insane to someone who does not have a deepening relationship with Christ. However, the depths from which one is able to turn the other cheek, the foresight in servant leadership, and the freedom in giving someone your cloak and coat produces a balanced recognition of ultimate treasure. All that can be amassed moves from the partial to the whole, it is not a coat as one piece of clothing - it is all clothing woven from all fibers brought from all fields which God made. You do not see one role which needs to be filled and therein some apparent status or recognition. Instead from the vantage point you rightly see men and women made in the image of God and the power to leverage, nourish, and strengthen their God given gifts. Turning the other cheek no longer is about taking a blow but it is allowing the other person to exhaust themselves to the point where truth is no longer hidden and can be properly addressed.
The wealth then of life in Christ far surpasses what a side commentary might indicate. Even this commentary means nothing if I as the author walk away neglecting the true stewardship and ownership of Christ's wealth. We are “called heirs of God and joint-heirs of Christ” in Romans 8. Yet the coloquiel poverty mindset exists within the Christian faith. While we might be rich beyond imagine spiritually it is still the forefront of obligation to the material for which we make apology. The poverty mindset is something which must be untaught and retrained into being one of thriving and growth. Even someone who escaped poverty decades before can still find themselves making decisions based on a false concept of limited means. It takes a period of time to retrain the gut response to issues of emergency or discernment in moments of abundance. As Christians who are walking around with this abundant Spiritual wealth, it is as if we were walking around with a high value currency and can be possibly ignorant to it. We walk around with a literal abundance of love coming from God which surpasses every assumption of the purpose of love, and we focus instead on what is lacking. So I ask, If this wealth is the very core of me, do I carry myself as wealthy as I truly am? If I did what would that mean for my time and how I steward my thoughts and words? If all that is the core of me is the King of all Kings, how could I live a life less than that of royalty? If all of my resources were innumerable and not dependent upon any of my own account, what exactly would I do?
Sadly, this becomes easily and mind you, obviously, bastardized through the “prosperity gospel”. The question does not change - “If all that is the core of me is the King of all Kings, how could I live a life less than that of royalty?”, but the intent changes in the Prosperity Gospel. No longer is it at it’s core a question of posture towards worship and reverence to God, but one which gives a justification for amassing lesser riches. C.S. Lewis put it plainly when he wrote “we are far too easily pleased”. The marshmallow test is a wonderful example of this easy pleasure. Children can reveal a great deal about their inner and future selves by either passing or failing the marshmallow test. If you are not familiar, in this test a marshmallow is placed on a table in front of a child, and the individual conducting the experiment proceeds with the following instruction, “While I leave the room, you can either eat the marshmallow or wait and I will give you a second marshmallow when I return.” Depending on the child’s ability to delay gratification, the child will either eat the marshmallow or wait and have two marshmallows. For Christians it is less about forgoing the lesser option of one marshmallow and waiting for a second marshmallow and more about God asking us to turn the single marshmallow over to find a four course meal He made which was hidden - or you could, you know, ignore His ability to deepen everything and just eat a marshmallow. God constantly says, forget worrying about whether or not you are going to eat the marshmallow and feast on what I am giving you underneath.
The clover club did not last very long though we were an elite group of third graders. Truthfully it was just myself and two of my friends. Together though we knew we had something important going on - and we felt like we were important. This is human psych 101, I am aware, but it serves to prove a point. Even children understand the importance of creating groups of individuals who share a commonality. For Christians this commonality is the inheritance and blessing of the Holy Spirit, and the wealth of relationship to one another through Him. For the world to be able to come together regardless of socio-economic status, culture, climate heritage, and the like and be able to share a never ending flow of relationship in Christ- ladies and gentlemen, this is no small deal. The depth of which the Kingdom of God can be constructed here on this Earth through the simple recognition of a shared relationship with Christ means a wealth and harmony which has no end. I return back to the original question. Do I carry myself as wealthy as I truly am? Do I treat others in the Kingdom of God as if they were the heirs of the King of Kings? Do I plan restoration of the world at the scale truly that fitting of a daughter of the King of the Universe? I would wager not. In fact I know I am not and do not. In this I must personally sit and see where I am giving myself away / settling for that which I know could be richer in thought and action. I know the best way to this is to continue to deepen my relationship with Christ because if you spend time with the King He is bound to teach you how to be His royalty. Greater than this the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the acceptance of Christ in me indeed means, regardless of where I am at in how I feel regarding my royalty in Christ - I am wealthy beyond what I could dream.