“I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich)” – Revelation 2:9a
Unlike the wealthy Christians in the city of Laodicea, the members of the church of Smyrna were mostly poor (Revelation 2:8-11). They did not possess silver or gold, or dress in costly garments, and they were not people of great influence. Many of them were slaves. However in their deep poverty, Jesus reminded them that they were wealthy – “But you are rich!” He says in Revelation 2:9. In a spiritual sense the Christians in Smyrna were millionaires! They possessed abundant spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ (Eph 1:3).
Living in a materialistic age such as ours, it is easy to become disgruntled when we compare ourselves with those who have more than we do. When we do, we need to remember that we are rich in Christ Jesus. In Ephesians 1:3-14, Paul provides us with a list of some of the greatest heavenly blessings we possess as believers. It is good to regularly recount these. Also, it is important to realize that there are many things that money cannot buy:
1. Money cannot buy happiness. Some of the most miserable people on earth are wealthy!
2. Money cannot buy satisfaction. Solomon said, “He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver.” (Ecc 5:10).
3. Money cannot buy lasting friendships. Proverbs 19:4 says “Wealth makes many friends.” However, when your money runs out, so do your friends!
4. Money cannot buy one day of life. Ecclesiastes 8:8 says, “No one has power over the spirit to retain the spirit.” Our breath and life rest completely in the hands of God.
5. Money cannot buy salvation. It is the free gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).
The Bible teaches us that the true riches of life are only to be found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Do you believe this, or are you still seeking after material things? Perhaps you need to shift your focus. Instead of being money-conscious, become Christ-conscious! Only Jesus can satisfy the deepest desires of your heart.
Written by Pastor Demitri Nikiforos
Demitri is the senior pastor at Calvary Chapel Cape Town. Demitri, and his wife, Karen have served together in ministry since 1993, first with Christian Surfers South Africa and later with Calvary Chapel. Establishing the church in the inner-city of Cape Town, they have seen Christ miraculously saving and transforming people from all walks of life. Demitri and Karen reside in central Cape Town and are blessed with four precious children – Shiloh, Daniela, Chloe and Micah