Are You Rich?

I will have to honestly admit that I don’t naturally consider myself wealthy. Rather, I occasionally dream about the kind of financial freedom I see others enjoy. I wonder what it would be like to afford vacations, jet skis and other big ticket toys, a larger house, even just eating out randomly without wondering how it’s going to fit into the budget. Don’t get me wrong. I am not wallowing in self-pity. Or living a life green with envy over the Jonses.  I just am not viewing myself as rich. Because by our American cultural standard, I am not.

And that is the tricky part…by our American culture! Did you know that if you have change lying around the house in a jar, or money hiding in your couch cushions, if you have any money in a bank then you rank in the top 8% in the world for wealth? Not too tough of criteria there! 92% of the world doesn’t have the luxury of change in the couch cushions. (Many of them don’t have couches to lose money in.) And no jar of change, or money in the bank either. When I read these kinds of world stats, my thinking on wealth is challenged.

This morning, I read the parable of the Landowner who gave talents to three servants and went away into a distant land. The first two wisely invested the money he had entrusted to them earning an admirable return. But the third refused to even put the money in the bank and instead buried it in the ground, so when the master returned this servant had nothing to show but the original talent. The master commended the first two servants, “Well done…enter into the joy of your lord.” But the third one was several berated and cast out. Jesus is  expressing the responsibility we each have to use the gifts He gives us wisely, investing for His kingdom.

In Luke 12 Jesus tells his audience, “To whom much is given, much shall be required.” Again, He is making the point that He gives us gifts for a specific God-designed purpose.

Jesus isn’t specifically talking about wealth in this verse. But the principle applies. If I am among the 8% wealthiest people in the world, then I think I’m one of the ones “to whom much has been given.”  By American standards I might not have a lot financially. But the very fact that my wealth is judged by the American standard, tells me that I have been given much. I was born into a country and a culture of affluence! How am I allowing God to use my heritage, and my wealth to make much of Him?  Oh to be found a faithful servant that can “enter into the joy of my Lord.”


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