Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Surprising Poor

Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. Rev. 3:17-18

The Christians at Laodicea had developed some false hopes and shaky reliances. They felt that they were so rich and secure that they wanted for nothing.

That would be an easy mistake for them. They had a gold refinery there, and were proud of the quality of their gold. They also made woolen cloth that was pretty high quality—it bleached almost white. And they made an ointment for the eyes there, and exported it to other towns. The local economy flourished.

But Jesus warns them that they are poor—a surprising thing to say in a city that refined gold. And they are blind—with all that eye ointment. And they who made cloth were naked.

Instead of trusting in their human resources, those ancient Saints were taught that their spiritual wholeness depended on following the Savior’s counsel to submit to the refiner’s fire that they might have the true riches of eternal life, receive sacred ordinances, and gain their spiritual sight.

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