Do You Live Like a Pauper?

Read:  Ephesians 1:7-8, 18; 2:6-7; 3:8, 16
           Colossians 2:27

Have you ever heard of Hetty Green (November 21, 1834 to July 3, 1916)?  She has an amazing story.  Look her up some time when you have a few spare minutes.  Here are a few interesting details from her life:

  • She was the richest woman in America during the Gilded Age. A time when all other financiers were men.
  • At her death, she had taken a family inheritance that was roughly $5 million and turned it into an estimated net         worth ranging between $100 and $200 million (that’s equal to about $2.3 to $4.6 billion in 2019).
  • She dealt mainly in real estate, railroads and mines.
  • The City of New York borrowed money from her several times to keep the city afloat.
It was an amazing amount of wealth at the turn of the 20th century.  Imagine what you would do if you had that kind of money.  What would be different about your life?  Would you own a mansion, maybe two or three, and travel the world?  Have staff to cook and clean and take care of your every need?  Maybe a garage full of expensive cars and your own private jet?  Get the best medical treatment available for illness?  I’m pretty sure I would enjoy the things great wealth can buy!
The trouble with Hetty Green is that while she was known for her great wealth, she was, also, as well known for her stinginess.  It was said she never turned on the heat or used hot water.  She wore one old black dress and rode in an old carriage.  Her meals mostly consisted of pies that cost 15 cents.  One story says that she spent all night searching her carriage for a stamp worth two cents and would only have the dirtiest parts of her dresses (hem) washed to save money on soap.  She carried cheap broken biscuits in an old handbag to eat so she wouldn’t have to buy a meal in a restaurant.  She tried to have her son, Ned, treated for a broken leg at a free clinic for the poor.  She refused to have a hernia operation for herself because the cost was $150.  There’s more.  Look it up for yourself.
Do you have wealth beyond measure at your fingertips but live like a pauper?  You’re probably thinking something like, “Don’t be absurd.  I would never live the life of a pauper with wealth like that at my disposal!”  You’re right.  Very few of us would go to such extremes if we possessed the means to live comfortably without a care. But how many Christians live the life of a pauper when the Bible clearly tells us in the above verses that we have a Heavenly Father who has wealth beyond the human imagination?  God the Father has made us rich in Jesus Christ.  Through Christ, we share in the riches of God’s grace, His glory, His mercy, and “the unsearchable riches of Christ.”  Unsearchable!  What is the depth of riches that are unsearchable?  How is that even possible that God has given us access to these “unsearchable riches”?  Our Father is rich, and He has made us rich in His Son.
Take some time to look up the verses listed above.  Mediate on them.  Search for other verses that tell of the richness of our inheritance in Christ Jesus.  Ask God to show you how to live in the spiritual riches He has already provided for you, that you have access to right now, and quit living the life of a spiritual pauper!