Posted: 5/11/17 at 8:00am. Column by Ed Jordan.
Which term better describes your life, a prince or a pauper? Which term do you wish described your life? A prince is defined as someone of wealth, position, an heir to a king, royal, or a person held in honor. A pauper is someone deprived of the money or resources necessary to live—one with very little.
Snow White was a pauper who dreamed of one day having her life changed by the arrival of a prince—someone who would fall in love with her and sweep her off her feet. So she would sing, “Someday my prince will come, someday I’ll find a love, and how thrilling that moment will be, when the prince of my dreams comes to me…”
It is interesting that no one ever sings: “Someday my pauper will come, someday we’ll fall in love, and how poor then my life will be, when my pauper’s in love with me.”
Most of us spend much of our lives dreaming of becoming virtual princes or princesses, of living a life where we don’t have a care in the world. Yet no matter how rich one becomes, or how powerful, there are always people who are richer and more powerful than ourselves. And no matter how much we might feel like a pauper, there are always people who are worse off than we are.
For most of us, the terms prince and pauper are strictly terms that denote one’s financial condition. Yet there are other ways to look at the terms. A prince has a special status, based upon who he is related to, just as a princess is also a person of special status who is related to someone with title, honor, or position. They may or may not be wealthy.
Many princes were paupers, having the title and position, yet with no personal wealth or belonging to a kingdom that was bankrupt. And sometimes a pauper (or frog) was a prince in disguise, hoping to have someone love him as a person rather than love him for his money and power. Some who are materially paupers are intellectually or spiritually princes. So what seems like an easy question is not always so easy to answer.
When a person becomes a Christian, they are born again into the kingdom of God. They then become adopted into God’s family and become joint heirs of God through Jesus Christ. We who were paupers and had nothing to offer God are suddenly family members of the King of kings, and Lord of lords. We who had nothing gain everything. This is what Peter says in 1 Peter 2:9–10 (ESV):
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
In Ephesians 3:15–19, Paul prays for all of us who are spiritually paupers, that by faith we would have an experience with Jesus which will change us from paupers to princes, from not belonging to belonging, from lacking everything to realizing that in Christ we have everything. Here is part of Paul’s prayer found in Ephesians 3:16-17 (NLT):
I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.
In Christ, God gives us access to His glorious, unlimited resources by giving us his Spirit as well as inner strength to live as his royal children. Christ comes to make his home in us as we place our faith in him. He gives us God’s love, to transform us and to motivate us. Read the other verses and stand in awe of the glorious riches God has bestowed upon us as Christians.
Are we paupers? Yes, because without Jesus we are unable to sustain our lives. Are we princes? Yes, because God in Christ welcomed us into his family when we placed our lives and our trust into Jesus. While the world looks at Christians as bankrupt and destitute, God looks at us as princes and princesses. And that is what we are!