The gospel of Jesus Christ is the great equalizer of humanity. In it we understand that the differences between one man and another are painfully minuscule when compared to the differences between any man and God. As Paul flatly states, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23 – NIV)
It may be easy to think of myself as high on the ladder of life because I’m a few rungs above my neighbor. However, the gospel shows us that a few rungs is nothing. The ladder of God’s holiness stretches through eternity. I may perceive a gap between me and someone else. But from God’s perspective, we’re practically sitting on each other’s lap. Thus, Jesus himself encourages us to take stock of our vision toward the misgivings of others: “first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5 -NIV)
It is called the gospel, or good news, because God (in His mercy) spans that infinite distance between us and Him through his Son, Jesus Christ. We all, simply put, are in desperate need of a savior – rich and poor alike are united by their need for Him.
James, the brother of Jesus, applies this truth to personal economics in his letter to Jewish believers in exile. In James 1:10, he notes: “Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.” (NIV)
You don’t have enough money? No big deal! God chose you to be lifted up above your circumstances through the salvation that Jesus brings!
You have more than enough money? No big deal! Naked you came into this world and naked shall you leave. The only thing you really have is the salvation that Jesus brings!
The astounding power of the gospel lies not only in its ability to lift up the poor, but also its ability to flatten the well-to-do. For the poor, the gospel corrects their self-perception. In its estimation, they are not the forgotten of this world. They are the remembered of God whom He loved so passionately that he sent His own Son in order that He could redeem them and subsequently share His riches with them.
For the well-to-do, the gospel also corrects their self-perception. In its estimation, they will be forgotten by this world. But, if they will consider what they have in light of God’s desire to share His riches with them, they too can be the remembered of God.
And since, in the end, our only treasure is His anyway, we are free to take the financial advice that Christ himself offers, “Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.” (Luke 16:9 – NLT)