The following post was inspired by some passages of Charles Spurgeon posted by Andrew Kenny on his blog Marks of Authentic Mission, where I left it as a comment.
The Jews pray, “Lord, don’t let me be so poor that I don’t bless You because I have so little, and don’t let me be so rich that I forget you because I have so much.” Psalm 37 declares, “Man in his prosperity forfeits intelligence. He is one with the cattle doomed to slaughter.” (Psalm 49:20 Jerusalem Bible)
When identifying with the poor I have used this verse like the repenting Pharisee, “Thank you, Lord, that I am not like other men, like that tax collector, for instance …”
The truth is, we are all rich if only we could remember God’s presence with us at all times, yet we are all poor in the eyes of the Lord, who hastens to enrich us—our weakness with His strength, our poverty with His abundance.
Sadly, a large part of the Church has gone over to the world and made worldly success, prosperity and security the declared or undeclared goal. No wonder when people go through the process of becoming a “Christian” and have achieved middle class status, they feel they’ve “graduated,” and now church attendance seems to them only as obligatory as going to an alumni reunion.
However, the Church was never intended to operate at a surplus, amassing wealth and property. Instead, the 5,000 men who were fed by only 5 loaves and 2 fish are in fact a type of the Church with regard to how it is to operate in the world (cf. Matthew 14:13–21, Mark 6:31-44, Luke 9:10-17 and John 6:5-15). Without concentrating on trying to be poor and simple (reading poverty into Christ's commandments, as if ‘impoverish each other’ were His word to us rather than ‘love each other’), without enticing each other to be rich and boastful (pretending that their boasting is of the Lord, when clearly it is not), the true life of the follower of Jesus in the Church, and indeed, the true life of the Church as a body, is simply to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added …” (Matthew 6:33 ESV).
“All these things?” Yes, whatever it is you think you want, well, you’ll come to see that you never knew what you really wanted until seeking the kingdom first and then, seeing what great blessing is in that kingdom, you come to know that there was nothing more that you ever wanted but that.
Now, how many of us who call ourselves “Christians” have that kind of abundant life? And how many of us are chasing after the same fleeting, fleshly majesty in possessions as does the world?
So do not worry; do not say, “What are we to eat? What are we to drink? How are we to be clothed?” It is the pagans who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. Set your hearts on His Kingdom first, and on His righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well. Matthew 6:31-33 Jerusalem Bible