I have a fascination with rags to riches stories. It’s amazing to me that someone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps and make it. Most of them tell of how they slugged through with the tenacity of a bulldog until they made it. One such individual is the man who invented the Dyson vacuum cleaner – he toiled for 17 years and built 50 prototypes and almost went broke before he lurched over the hill to success.
Some people believe that poverty can be alleviated without charity. Ankesh Kothari writes, “Give the poor people heroes. Tell them rags-to-riches stories. These stories will satisfy their hunger a lot more effectively than any free food programs. Because these stories will empower the poor people to earn their own food instead of relying on charity.” (Source: http://www.nontoxin.com/how-to-eradicate-poverty-without-doing-charity/)
I’m not sure what his belief system is, but it seems he just described what Jesus did for everyone. His story is the most astounding rags to riches story ever told. Really when you think about it, it’s quite miraculous.
Here are some thoughts about this, from www.revelation.co:
1. Jesus was born in a poor manger in poor circumstances (very humble circumstances)
2. He grew up as a well liked person (according to the bible).
3. His parents were relatively poor his whole life
4. Jesus never had any formal education that we know of–and yet every day schools all over the world teach about Jesus.
5. He started his public ministry around the age of 30 (and before that worked as a humble carpenter).
6. He picked 12 “nobodies” to help him with his teachings (the disciples). These men were mostly poor, and uneducated (not exactly who I would pick if I was trying to change the world).
7. Jesus never wrote a book so far as we know–yet thousands upon thousands (if not millions) of books have been printed about him.
8. He never had a lot of money throughout his whole life, –yet millions of dollars are given every year in his name.
9. He was homeless throughout his ministry, and yet thousands upon thousands of buildings and churches bear his name throughout the world.
10. He never traveled more than a few miles in his life, and yet his teachings were so profound that it spread throughout all the world.
11. Jesus never made a movie, and yet movies and plays are recorded about his life every year.
12. Jesus never wrote a song as far as we know, and yet people write music referencing Jesus’ life and death.
13. After only 3 years of teaching, he was killed on the cross. Yet his messages, miracles, and teachings were so incredible, that the disciples spent the rest of their lives telling others. Many died terrible deaths, were tortured, thrown in prison, and worse. Yet, they continued to tell everyone of the message of Jesus. They could have stopped, and been spared. Many were told that if they didn’t stop teaching, they would be stoned to death. Yet many chose being “stoned” to denying what they saw and felt.
Just think about it: Millions pray to God every day in Jesus’ name. Millions hear his teachings every week in church. Millions wear a “cross” around their necks. Millions of people argue, go on forums, debate, and talk about this Jesus person. Every day, Jesus is taught, thought about, prayed to, and more.
It’s because people who have experienced Jesus and his story have been changed by it. We all are in spiritual poverty, spiritual poverty due to sin. But when Jesus cleanses us from sin and begins working on the rough spots in our character, our countenance and hope changes. Our whole perspective changes…we have become children of a (conquering) King, adopted as his sons and daughters. He lavishes on us the bounty that is his: peace, love, mercy, hope, and wisdom. Our riches are his Glory.
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” – Ephesians 1:18-19a
(New American Standard Bible ©1995)