Because you did not serve the Lord your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity, therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty, you will serve the enemies the Lord sends against you. He will put an iron yoke on your neck until he has destroyed you.
All throughout the Old and New Covenant, poverty is a part of the curse. It is said, it doesn’t take much time of the hunger of famine to humble a man. The same is true of poverty.
Christ’s Kingdom, Paul writes, consists of Righteousness, Peace, and Joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17). When Paul wrote of not muzzling the ox that is treading out the grain, he said that the reason was that the plowman should plow in hope (1 Corinthians 9:10).
Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.
3 John 1:2
The greatest yoke of poverty is poverty of heart, that of a hopeless, joyless, and peaceless existence. While poverty of spirit, the lacking of inner strength and vitality (Proverbs 20:27) is the place where God can show Himself the strongest in our our lives, there is this other form of poverty, which can neither see nor enter into the promise of God.
God’s desire is that we be well-provided for. Whether that is in the palace of a king as Daniel was, or beside the faltering brook fed by ravens like Elijah, how it looks to the outward man is not as important as being renewed day by day from within (2 Corinthinas 4:16).
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
God’s motivation is more than enough. Even in the parable of the treasure in the field (Matthew 13:44), the man was never “losing” anything, ultimately. While the cost of the treasure was everything the man owned, the treasure in the field was of such a greater worth as to offset the cost. Jesus Himself said not to store up treasure upon the Earth, but in heaven. While the nature of the treasure is different than worldly riches, the value of the treasure is always increased.
Poverty of heart exists when the heart cannot believe, cannot see the provision of Christ. Christ Himself, when He saw the woman cast in her last coins, saw the wealth of the woman, all that she had (Mark 12:41-44). He saw the truth of the situation, beyond the confines of the natural, to the pure essence of what the woman was. This woman must have seen what others could not. Her vision was greater than the others, and her wealth was as well, because she counted of greater worth the giving of her coins to the temple of God, rather than hoarding what to many was too little to do anything with.
God does not withhold any good thing from those who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11). The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing (Psalm 34:10).
Poverty is a stricken heart, unable to see beyond what it cannot hold onto, unable to believe and to hope, and unable to step beyond the ordinary, the mundane, and see something greater. It is always poor, whether it has an abundance or a lack, because it possess nothing of the Eternal, nothing of hoping or believing, and nothing of worth.
John’s prayer, in his third epistle, is simply that, following the prosperity of the soul, that we would be well provided for and be healthy. And, this is indeed the case.
Where is there lack? Where there is no hope. Where is there abundance? Where men see, believe, and step out.
What is poverty? The inability to see what one has.
For whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.
The problem with the man in the second category in this verse is apparent by what happens to him. If he has something taken away from him, that means he was wrong in believing he did not have in the first place. When we see what we do have, whether it simply be our breath, our daily existence, or even just our worship, and choose to make it do something, we set off a pattern in God’s heart that cannot be stopped, a diligence that will be rewarded. More is added, until we have abundance. Like the loaves and fishes, while some were observing what they did not have, not enough money to buy the bread, Jesus asked what they did have, and said it would be enough.
God is able to do more with a thankful heart than He ever could with anything else.
Breaking the curse of poverty is more about the ending of the cycles of hopelessness, despair, and doubt, than it is about the filling of the pockets with currency. Once you do the former, the latter will simply happen. If you fail to do the former, no amount of aid will ever be enough.