Imagine you’re on Family Feud. The category’s “People Who Are Really Well-Off.” Steve Harvey asks you, “Name someone the survey says is really well off.” What’s your answer?
How does Jesus answer this question? After all, he’s the only really well-off-ness expert there is. Like everything else, when it comes to answering the question “Who is really well-off?” God points to Jesus and says, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased; listen to him” (Matthew 17:5).
There’s a place in the Bible where Jesus answers the well-off-ness question as clearly, precisely, and definitively as he answered the rich young ruler’s question, “What must I do to be saved?” That place is called “The Beatitudes” (Matthew 5:2-11).
Each of the eight beatitudes gives a standing ovation to a certain character trait. When the traits are put together they give you Jesus’ Mona Lisa masterpiece portrait of really well-off-ness.
It’s the way each beatitude begins that assures you Jesus is describing the people who are really well-off. Each begins with “Blessed.” And blessed means “really well-off” as surely as love means doing what’s best for someone.
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According to Jesus
What makes Jesus’ description of who is really well-off so wonderful for you as a Christian is the fact that it gives you a compelling reason for living as the Grace-Focused Optimist God wants you to be.
According to Jesus, it’s not the Henry David Thoreaus of the world who are marching to the beat of their own drum by living life on their own terms who are really well-off.
According to Jesus, it’s not those who are Bill Gates wealthy and twenty-year-old professional athlete healthy who are really well-off.
According to Jesus, it’s not those who have positive, nurturing, affirming relationships like a good marriage and good friends who are really well-off.
According to Jesus, it’s not those who invest their lives in a noble cause like human rights or ending poverty or world peace who are really well-off.
Who then, according to Jesus, is really well-off?
According to Jesus, the only people who are really well-off are the people who see themselves in the mirror of the beatitudes. Who are they? Christians! So, according to Jesus, Christians are the only really off-people on the face of this earth. And not just some Christians either. Every Christian. Including you!
According to Jesus, even a Christian in the most negative circumstances imaginable is well-off. In the eighth beatitude, he says, “Blessed—really well-off are those who are persecuted for my sake.” It doesn’t get more negative than being burned at the stake or buried alive or imprisoned because you love Jesus. But Jesus says even those Christians are really well-off.
He Understands Grace
How can Jesus say that no matter what’s in your life now that you wish was out or what’s out of your life now you wish was in, if you’re a Christian you’re really well-off?
Jesus says this because he understands grace. Jesus knows that grace means God is always up to your good. If God is always up to your good, you are really well-off now, at this moment.
And if Jesus tells you that you’re really well-off now, at this moment, you have a compelling reason to live as the Grace-Focused Optimist God wants you to be.