Echoes From the Campfire

I didn’t have any idea what a wealthy person does, or even if it was something I could do, without messing up my life.”
              –Lou Bradshaw  (Along the Way)

    “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!”
              –Romans 11:33 (NKJV)
I came across some reading the other night and it stopped me, causing me to take some time to ponder.  Have you noticed how often we read through a Scripture, but don’t take time to eat at the station.  It’s as if the stage doesn’t stop, but keeps right on going.  We need to stop once in a while and not just think but contemplate what is being said.

    “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write,
‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”‘”
              –Revelation 2:8-10 (NKJV)

    “The First,” think of that.  Have you ever thought of what it was like before God created?  I mean before He created anything:  the angels, the cherubim, the seraphim, heaven, the throne.  What was it like when there were no men, no angels, no words spoken?  What was it like when there was only God?  Joseph Parker said that we have only the “dimmest apprehension of the mystery of being the First.”
    “The Last,” is another mystery.  I am not sure if it is referring to the ages of eternity to come or if it could be referring to the words of Jesus when He cried, “It is finished.”  The last act of salvation was finished.
    The Lord then turns His attention to the church at Smyrna.  It was a suffering church.  The people may have cried in their misery “woe is me,” but Jesus reminds them that they are rich.  He knows where to find them, He knows where they are no matter how dark the grief and suffering may be.
    A writing by Joseph Parker brought the following to my attention concerning the fact that Christ knows where we are when we are suffering for him.  First, he says, “It should embolden us to seek His help.”  “He is within whisper-reach of all His saints.”  It may be only a sigh or a groan, but He is there, He knows.  Second, “It should inspire us with invincible courage…  the shadow of Christ falls upon us, and that shadow is stronger than a thousand shields.”  If courage fails we need to turn to Him to embolden us.  “He knows your frame; He remembereth that you are but dust; He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.  You fail, but He never!”  And thirdly, “It should clothe us with profoundest humility.”  Who are we that the King of heaven and the universe would care for us, would come to our aid?  Yet, He does!  
    There is one more phrase to contemplate, “you are rich.”  Now, I would ask you, what does it mean for you to be rich?  Does rich not differ because of circumstance?  My Aunt always considered herself rich when she received a job from Safeway.  Our family budget almost doubled–we were rich.  Give the widow of “two mites” several talents and she would think herself rich.  Are you rich in comparison to Joe Blow, or to Donald Trump, or to the wealth of Solomon?  Are you rich because your Father sits enthroned with unsearchable riches?
    Eddy Arnold put out a song a few years back, titled “The Richest Man in the World.”  Look at part of the lyrics and it will give you a good idea of what riches are.

         “Now the rich folks talk about the grub they eat
          Now I’ve got all those rich folks beat
          ‘Cause I’ve got a field of yellow yams
          And a smokehouse filled with country hams.
          Talk to me about caviar
          They ain’t nothing but fish eggs placed in a jar,
          I’ve got a whole pond of big brown trout
          Fish eggs what are they talking about?
          Hey I got no fancy swimming pool
          But the creek in the woods is deep and cool…
          I’m wealthy, I’m wealthy…”

    What then is truly being rich?  Is your faith strong?  Then you are rich.  Are your children serving the Lord?  Then you are indeed rich.  Have you spent much time serving and laboring for Christ?  If so, then you are rich.  No matter the turmoil, the viruses that come your way, the commotion and confusion that strikes at you–Jesus knows where you are and that you are rich.