A Good Inheritance
Mark Scott Grimmett
For millennia the tales have been told, around blazing campfires and in prestigious halls of learning with almost universal appeal. Though varying in context and dressed to fit the culture at hand, the stories are much the same with every incarnation. Bearing names like Cinderella or Belle, we usually find in our stories a maiden who pines for (and ultimately wins) the affections of a dashing prince or king. In the end our heroin is swept off to unimaginable joys of luxury and wealth - doted upon with kingly adoration and with great pomp; and then loved by the subjects of a kingdom that is now hers to rule. To this outcome we naturally apply the designation, “happily ever after”, and it has ever been greeted with overwhelming approval.
Come now, we have all indulged this. At some point in our lives we have all drifted off into happy deliriums imagining this sort of fate. It seems to be bred into the human race from somewhere beyond time or recall. The notion has always been intoxicating – that a good and handsome prince would choose for himself a poor but lovely urchin from among the masses because he has found something in her that transcends obvious beauty. We are rightly exultant when through hardships or dangers the lovers finally find one another and are forever united in an enduring love. We rejoice because their trials have helped them thresh something greater than mere wealth or power – for they have found the greatest treasure of all shining brightly in one another’s eyes.
Of course it doesn't hurt that he’s a king and she is now rich beyond measure, but surely their love is as such that she would have taken him even in poverty. In the end it seems that we were created for happily-ever-after.
As we pause to allow our diabetic friends a moment to scramble for insulin, I think it is safe to examine this picture (for a moment) with bald honesty. This kind of “fairytale” is loved by children without exception – little ones who have yet to be tarnished by the harshness of reality and the truths with which we are all indoctrinated in the crucible of life. Cynical utterances which state that our world produces far too few “good-hearted princes” who might be looking for diamonds in the rough – while far too few maidens would ever fit that description.
But children are pure – uncomplicated by the ambiguous tethers of human nature that descend upon us as the age of accountability arrives and innocence is tarnished by sin. They only know that their hearts soar with the idea that they too might someday be that prince or princess. The castle, the carriages, and all the riches just might be theirs when their day has finally come. Parents know all too well that their babies need neither encouragement nor indoctrination to love this kind of story. They do not know enough to fight this inbred inclination to adore a good rags-to-riches fairytale, and are invariably swept away in the currents of happily-ever-after on a regular basis. Alas, even adulthood has done little to snuff my love for this sort of tale at the tender age of forty-five.
But let us imagine for a moment the cynical view – that a rogue revisionist of a socialist nature has stolen into the cabinet and altered the manuscript to reflect a more "realistic" perspective. Would we, the reader, truly be pleased when Cinderella learned that her prince had exaggerated his claims to royalty and was actually a factory worker in a nearby village scraping by on a meager existence? Would not even the adults in the room examine the print for some hidden page that might betray what had to be a bad joke? Surely, we’d exclaim, we didn't read all this way only to find that the maiden was to be saddled with a bloviating liar who had misrepresented himself – proving to be as much of a prince as the devil is a deity. Yet even if the story was salvaged by a magnanimous gesture on the part of the maiden (accepting the man despite his betrayal), surely we would be slathered in disappointment at the story’s end. Would we not pity the girl, whose hopes of glory were dashed at the hands of a charlatan?
In the end it seems that we were created for happily-ever-after.
We also see a common thread in the heroes that we have regaled throughout the centuries. From Robin Hood to Zorro, from Batman to Iron Man, do we not see in each of these a commonality poking its head out (gopher-like) to favor us with a wink and a smile? As these mighty men of justice leap into action, are we not cheering for a rich man who could be relaxing without a care in the world? Who, instead of contenting himself in the lap of luxury, has taken up the cause of justice on behalf of those who will never be able to repay him?
Surely we’d cheer for Batman even if he was dishing slurpies at the local convenience store, but then the gadgets would be far more common and his car a would be beater. The string of logic tying these stories together seems to assert that the act of coming to the aid of others in an elevated sense requires far more time, work, preparation, and (gasp) money than a common man of modest means could accomplish on his own. Indeed, it would be nearly impossible to save the world (night after night) if by day the individual in question was facing a double-shift come morning. It therefore does not take long to conclude that we embrace the logic of a kind-hearted rich man because he has the means to circumvent such obstacles while retaining his impermeable facade.
So the question remains – are we tempted at any point to condemn these fictionalized heroes because they return to mansions at the end of their exertions? Come now, fellas – do we not see his role as being exceedingly blessed despite the dangers he incurs in the discourse of his duties? Of course we don’t condemn them – we might even overlook great flaws of moral character that would otherwise draw our ire because we can’t help but acknowledge the selfless servitude he portrays in the protection of his fellow man. He also seems to see wealth in its proper perspective – for though our hero makes no apologies for being rich, he is still showing that wealth and poverty are in themselves neither noble nor ignoble. All men are equal in God’s eyes and are worthy of protection.
Both of these genres (the romance and the hero alike) have truths woven deep into their fabric that I believe is in no way a coincidence. For it is my conviction that Abba loves a good story and regularly inspires tales that some might consider “secular” in nature. He does this to engender right-thinking about justice and humanity – to inspire His children to be brave and to admire those who sacrifice themselves in order to serve those who will never be able repay them. He wants His little ones to learn to stand against evil in all its forms – to insist on justice even if a wicked society should make it necessary for an ordinary citizen to take matters into his own hands. Though not to be found in the Bible, surely Jesus was the inspiring author to sentiments like “evil flourishes when good men do nothing”. It sounds like something He would say – it has the Master-touch.
I also have it on authority that our Heavenly Father is a true romantic – who loves a good redemption tale and delights when His children find the pure light of love shining bright in the eyes of a husband or wife. Too often the devil gets his way in this arena and misery inevitably follows – but His plans for us were (and remain) grand no matter what circumstances dictate. In this we find the heavy cost of sin in a world that is blessed with free moral agency. Though we constantly get into messes that He never concocted for us, still He endures our blame when what we design comes to nothing – or results in disaster.
Do you not see the strands of commonality which tie these stories together? Have you never heard of another – a Good and Righteous King who, though crowned with splendor, set it aside for a time in order to sacrifice Himself for the good of those who will never be able to repay Him? Powerful and rich beyond account, this mighty King has patiently worked from the dawn of time for the good of His beloved – although they break His heart a million times each day. Is this not the same King who chose for Himself a bride from among the ash-heap of ruin – a wretched urchin in whom He alone found something to love? Far greater than any mere fairy-tale, this King redeemed His Bride at an astonishing cost and is even now preparing a place for her that will make all other happily-ever-after’s pale by comparison. Hopeless romantic, anyone…?
So let us begin by putting something straight, Saints of God-Most-High. For far too long we have allowed our Savior to be defined by a world that cares nothing for Him, and it is high time we cast a few things in their proper light.
Truth number 1: We are the bride of the King of Glory, not the disciples of an impoverished Rabbi.
Jesus Christ is The King of Everlasting Glory, eternally enthroned at the right hand of The Mighty One – His Holy father and ours, the Lord God Jehovah (who is forever praised, amen!). We sing this in songs and preach it in sermons – we teach it in class, but do we really believe? When imagining Jesus sifting among us ministering to His children, how do you see Him in your mind? For I tell you – far too many of His babies have been laboring under misconceptions that must now be put to rest.
Jesus is NOT poor and never was… He loathes poverty entirely.
Yeshua’s natural state is not the anorexic condition to which He subjected Himself when He came to make atonement for our sins. He is clothed in splendor beyond anything you can presently fathom – the very stitching of his garments worth more than the sum total of Earth’s accumulated wealth. Yet many in the body of Christ have transformed His act of humility (during the days of His flesh) into an edict on how He means for His children to live. He was poor – must we not also follow His example? Did He not tell the rich man to sell all he had and give to the poor? Did He not say, “Blessed is the poor?”
To the first question, the answer is no… To the second question, yes – but not in the way it has been interpreted. To the third question, absolutely not.
Many have misquoted that scripture over the centuries in order to propagate a religious dogma of poverty and want, suggesting that suffering is good for the soul. The actual statement is thus: Blessed is the poor IN SPIRIT.
Every parable in which Jesus illustrated the follies of riches, He was speaking quite clearly about the love of wealth, not making a blanket condemnation against wealth itself. Consider this – we believe Him to be the King of Glory and know that He was crowned with incalculable wealth before the creation of the world. This means that He was the richest Being in the universe even while clothed in rags during the days of His ministry. We rightly roll our eyes at the base hypocrisy of hearing a rich man decry wealth as an evil – so how could we ever think that He would be guilty of such duplicity? Are we suggesting that Jesus is a hypocrite? Jesus Christ – the King of Glory – is rich beyond reason – by far the wealthiest Being alive.
His coming to us in rags was not so much a statement about who He is, but a testimony to who we have allowed ourselves to become. He came to "slum it" among His miserable fallen creation – and as a supreme gesture of humble solidarity took up the yoke of poverty so that we might someday come into His Glory. He became poor for a season so that His children might gain riches that will last an eternity.
Still there are those who would suggest that the wealth Jesus means to give His children is exclusive to Heaven – only to be obtained upon crossing over. Although this is a line of logic with which I once foolishly agreed, I now find that a careful examination of the matter proves it utterly false. To put the argument in its proper lighting we must consider what we are saying by impugning brothers and sisters who are of great wealth. Who among the following would you suggest are burning in hell because they were exceedingly rich during their time on earth?
b. Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob?
d. Boaz and Ruth?
e. Kings David, Solomon, and Hezekiah?
These names are but a meager scraping of the barrel when counting the number of righteous and wealthy saints who are listed in the Bible. In each case, these saints were careful to give God the glory for their many blessings and were generous to those who were less fortunate than they. They worked tirelessly to see Abba’s will be done – often utilizing their great wealth in order to positively influence those who were perishing around them.
What about post-atonement? Did the Bible list wealthy righteous individuals after the Lord came to us? Of course – there are many examples:
a. Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support Yeshua's ministry out of their own personal means.
b. The Centurion whose servant was healed by his great faith.
e. Joseph of Arimathea
In none of these cases were the rich condemned, nor were their efforts impugned because they happened to be wealthy.
But what of Jesus’ own words – what did He say about the wealthy? He spoke on the matter often, and we find one answer to our question in the disturbing parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:16-21):
“16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest.17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
Do you see it? Here we read that Yeshua was not condemning the acquisition of wealth, but the base greed that the fool’s actions really conveyed. Whenever our Lord warned against greed and/or the deception of wealth, it was not wealth that He was teaching against, but the corruption which results when money becomes our “god” in His place. This must never happen, and only against such a fate is poverty a blessing.
Consider also His parable of the prodigal son. In this parable we see that the prodigal’s father was most gracious in receiving his wayward son with open arms even after his wealth had been squandered on wild living. Nowhere in this dissertation, however, does Jesus impugn or condemn the righteous father – but (rather) portrays him as a great example of Godly love. We could go on interminably – but I believe the point is made.
The Great King of Glory, through whom Abba Jehovah created the universe, is a Being of unfathomable power, grace, holiness, purity, light, justice, and splendor. He is also rich beyond the understanding of man. Were the wealthiest men on earth to combine their riches, they could not amass enough money to buy for themselves a single hunk of one of Heaven’s smallest treasures. The streets of gold are no metaphor, brothers and sisters – His children walk on more wealth than Earth has ever (or could ever) produce. Read for yourselves the description of New Jerusalem in the book of Revelation and wonder at towering gates of solid gold hung in place by great pearls – ornate with gems that alone would cost more than a nation here would want to spend.
It is high time we re-think how to perceive the One we serve! He is the One and Only God and His Kingship is NOT ceremonial.
He came to us the first time as the spotless Lamb of God. It was a purposeful journey of humility and grace with one goal in mind – to redeem (or purchase) the souls of any who will turn to Him for salvation. But do not be deceived; when Jesus returns it will not be as the Lamb of God but as the Lion of Judah. He will be resplendent – resonating with such overwhelming power that the nations will try to hide themselves from His face. It is true that He is love – He is mercy – He is grace… But on that day, He will be to those who hated Him (and Abba) a terror beyond our desire to imagine.
This is the Good King who is coming for us, Beloved. We are His Bride and the object of His wondrous love – and with Him we will most certainly live happily-ever-after.
If confession is good for the soul, here I must pause a moment to do myself a world of good. For your humble correspondent was (for many years) guilty of criticizing preachers and teachers who espoused a doctrine in which the children of God were assured a prosperous living on earth (as well as in Heaven). I correctly asserted that our focus should be where our true riches reside (in Heaven), but I too was a victim of a poverty doctrine which stated that being poor here on Earth was somehow actually a blessing.
In short – I was wrong.
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Once more, I must ask – do you see it? The verse provided above (from the NIV) is noteworthy because it marks (by all accounts) the first public words uttered by Jesus, thus inaugurating His Earthly ministry in the days of His flesh. And what are the first words out of His mouth? That’s right – the gospel He came to preach would be good news to the poor. God never intended for His children to fall into poverty – that sad condition was a result of sin in the garden. Yeshua loathes poverty – and if His children will be healed of it, He longs to deliver.
Not convinced? Nor was I for the longest time. Let us try another one on for size:
28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Pretty compelling evidence…
Here we see that Yeshua gives a clear picture on what His children should expect of Him after the matter of obedience is given its proper perspective. Peter’s statement (mirrored in Matthew 19) sets the conditions of God’s blessings. They had left everything to follow Him – and in return, God promised to shower His beloved with more blessings IN THIS PRESENT AGE than they ever thought to lose in the discourse of their wholehearted devotion. These things in their proper order are what unlock the storehouse of Heaven on our behalf. Having spent much of my life within a stone’s-throw of “poor”, I can assure you that persecutions will come either way – we might as well endure them amid His many wonderful blessings.
Sell out – give everything to your King. Make Him your First Love and dedicate unto Him every breath and every heartbeat every single day without fail. Then watch with amazement what He does on your behalf. Our Heavenly Poppa is a Good Daddy.
Finally, the most obvious of the (many) passages to be brought forth on this matter:
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
I know the arguments one might use here because I too was once so armed when locked in theological battle against those whom I thought to be horribly misguided on this subject. Jesus was speaking here of eternal things, not of things in this world, right? Though I agree wholeheartedly with the first part of that argument even now (that He was speaking of eternal things), what empirical evidence can be produced in order to support the second portion that sentence (being not in this world)? Does this second portion dissect in some surreal esoteric manner when read in Greek? I think not.
Our Heavenly Father is a Daddy in every sense of the word. Many have treated him as though He is removed from us because of the “Heavenly” part of that title – but this is a terrible mistake. Long before we were a “glint in our (earthly) father’s eyes”, we were all eternal beings who were known by God with everything good that He has planned for us carefully fashioned down to the most minute detail. How much of that good we enjoy here on earth is decided by how well we obey and how well we endure the storms that come our way. But make no mistake – much good was planned for each of His children, and whether they accept Him or not, every soul belongs to our God.
For everyone belongs to me, the parent as well as the child—both alike belong to me. The one who sins is the one who will die.
So the next time you ponder the matter of your parentage, please reconsider the order. The Lord God Jehovah and our Lord Jesus Christ imagined you and planned much good for your life. They gave you strengths that you will need to in order to endure the snares and hardships that will come your way – and then they stitched you together in your mother’s womb. He (Elohim) is your Father – not in some esoteric (detached) manner where metaphor reigns, but in every literal and palpable way.
Is Jehovah, then, a careless (or detached) Father because we preface Him with “Heavenly”? Is He (in your mind) so removed from our pains and sorrows that He would will for you a lifetime of misery as a means of “earning” your place in eternal bliss?
And there we have it – the crux of the whole matter.
Most Christians concede that salvation is something which cannot be earned – a universally accepted tenant of our faith which resonates throughout the Body of Christ. But by stating that God has designed for us a sufficient amount of misery so that we can be worthy of eternal bliss – isn’t that exactly what we’re suggesting? Moreover, do you find it unfair that some people in Heaven lived their lives in the lap of luxury while others endured a lifetime of privations? Was this Abba’s design for them, or did our glorified (previously impoverished) brothers and sisters have a much higher calling that yielded a far greater reward than those who were rich in this life? Or could their state of poverty not have been the result of disobedience and / or impetuous financial decisions which were never intended by our Lord? In looking back over my life, I know that financial hardships can be overwhelmingly attributed to the latter and were almost always entirely of my own doing.
God always had something better in mind, even for me.
This is what our King wishes you to know, Dear Saint. You are the literal son or daughter of the Lord God Jehovah, and you are entitled to your inheritance – not only when you reach Heaven, but here on Earth. Poverty is a curse that resulted because of our transgression in the Garden of Eden. Jesus, however, paid the price for our sins – and if we seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, it is promised that all we desire will be added unto us as well.
He is a good Daddy and has provided for you a splendid inheritance. To those who cling to Him wholeheartedly in this amazing hour, great abundance will surely come. If you have yielded your heart to Jesus and have offered your life as a living sacrifice, get ready to be rich beyond your wildest dreams – first on earth, and then in the ages to come. Only when this is accomplished will you be prepared to pour out His love upon those who desperately need salvation and sustenance. Then you will make your Heavenly Father rich with little ones.
The great wave of the 2nd Pentecost is about to be poured out upon all mankind as foretold in scripture. Rhema, the Great and Awesome Holy Spirit of God, is about come forth in a display of power that heretofore the world has never seen – not even in the day’s Jesus’ flesh. In John 14:12, Jesus bore witness to this time by prophesying that some would do even greater things than what He did because He was returning to Abba. This is the time that is even now at the door. You will see in the coming months and years an increase of miracles, signs, and wonders, performed by those who love The Lord – all things done in the glorious name of Jesus Christ.
The culmination of this outpouring will see the addition of over a billion souls added to the Body of Christ here on Earth – A mighty army of the Living God burning with zeal for His honor and glory. Then after the Gentile bride is taken home and the lawless one has had his fleeting moment of trimph (Jacob’s trial), Yeshua will come and take up His throne in Jerusalem, where He will reign with His Saints for a thousand years.