Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Theology of Sublime Poverty, Yet Spiritual Riches

RUNNING a Bible study for a group of youth-aged girls in a recovery program as an extension of the ministry of the church I work for, and God leads me to share the above Word.  We had just been discussing how three of these girls had experienced significant healings whilst on a camp.  In a mood of reflective joy, we all mused about how fortunate we were — having gone through a recovery of sorts, in the Kingdom of God.  There were stories going around the group of how much community adds to life, and how ‘those on the outside’ were missing out.
These girls, and anyone on a mission of recovery, inevitably has to give up and sacrifice a lot of things; much contact with family, access to electronic devices and social media, and basically many freedoms we all take for granted.  There is a true sense that life is ‘on hold’ — that into the incubator of self-development they go.
Yet, even with all this taken away, together with the daunting task of looking ahead to a lot of personal work, there is the perspective that this Program builds their future, one day as a brick in a wall at a time.
I told them that they inspire me.  Some have bold hopes for noble careers, others want to be leaders elsewhere, like in a family, and others, too, are headed for careers in helping vocations like social work.  First they have to finish their schooling.  They learn to deal with their feelings.  They’re discipled.  They go to healing meetings.  It’s a hotbed seminary for challenge and growth.
On the one hand, they have nothing, so far as possessions go, yet, on the other hand, they have it all — a caring, nurturing community they can grow with safety in, the felt Presence of God, and opportunities that might only come through a Program like this.
They have nothing, yet they possess all things.
And that’s a marvellous spiritual concept; the less we have, as in what we hold, the more we have.  Only someone who’s ever lost it all, and had to go back to the start, could really understand.
Consider it privilege replete with joy when you’re in possession of nothing, for only then can you say that, in God, you possess all things.  It was so for Jesus.
© 2016 Steve Wickham.

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