Luke 1:18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
In many ways Zechariah is the very picture of the majority of people today. He was so fixated on his circumstances as he saw them that he couldn’t believe they would change even when an angel told him directly! Gabriel was giving him extremely good news, something I am sure he had desired intensely for many years, and he couldn’t receive it. That’s quite sad, really, but I’m sure there are countless people today who are no better off. It’s like we’re wearing blinders and staring in mirrors, and we can’t imagine that things could be any different. God has the riches of heaven ready to pour them out on us, and we won’t even look up to see it. I’ve just run into a chart that was produced from a study that was done to help teachers relate better to students from a different socioeconomic class, and the spiritual implications are quire remarkable. The categories in the chart are Poverty, Middle Class, and Wealth, and it lists the typical mindset people in each category have in various different areas. I can’t reproduce the whole study here, naturally, but the point is that Christians are spiritually in the Wealth category because they are children of God, but most of them have a Poverty mentality when it comes to spiritual things, not to mention material ones. Zechariah illustrated that with his response to Gabriel, and Gabriel had to take drastic action to snap him out of it. He wasn’t punishing Zechariah so much as he was applying necessary discipline, just as it talks about in Hebrews 12:4-11.
I have certainly had my own struggles with this issue. I have an immense spiritual heritage, passed down from generations before me who have served God wholeheartedly, but I have been less than fully effective in sharing and investing those spiritual riches. At the same time, I am constantly confronted with people who are deeply mired in a Poverty mentality, so concerned with their own survival that they can’t imagine God would use them to bless someone else. That’s really sad, not to mention self-defeating. I have gotten kickback from some people when I have tried to get them to take their eyes off of themselves and their circumstances. They have insisted “You don’t care, much less understand, about me and my situation!” It hurts to be told that, but it doesn’t change the reality that if they would lift the eyes of their hearts they would discover that God has already met their every need, because they are His children and He loves them.
Father, You know who stands out in my mind as I think of this issue, but they are far from alone. For starters, everyone in this church needs to get a better grasp of who they are in Christ! Years ago You gave me the conviction that if Your children in Japan wake up to who they are in Christ, they will not only transform the Church, they will transform the nation and the world. Let it be so, Lord, and use me in the process, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!