“I Need a Dollar”
This weekend, my church started a new series called “Rich People Syndrome” that uniquely discusses our finances in a way that I’m not sure has been discussed before (not your typical tithing conversation). Putting things into perspective…did you know that: 
  • 73% of Americans name money as their #1 source of stress.
  • 84% of couples cite  finances as the source of tension in their marriage. 
  • 2/3’rds of American households live paycheck to paycheck. 
By the world’s standards…WE are rich. Why then does money stress us out so much…and why do we allow it to keep us from being “all in” with Christ? After this weekend, I know this to be “Rich People Syndrome.” What is RPS?
“When external pressures lead to an internal desire to consume more and more until we are living above our means.” (aka “Keeping up with the Jones” or the Kardashians)
As much as 95% of this pressure is artificial – so many of us have created a lifestyle that we simply can’t keep up with. We’ve become consumed with earning that next dollar to fund a living beyond our means. So, what do we do? Jesus tells another parable in Luke 16 (I won’t copy/paste the entire scripture, but you can read HERE – Parable of the Shrewd Manager).

The basic premise of the lesson is that a shop manager is warned that he’s going to be laid off. With that in mind, he begins to reduce the debts of his customers so that when he is out of work…others will remember him and offer him a place to stay. When this shop manager’s boss finds out what the shop manager has done, he is commended and told that he has acted shrewdly. The moral of the story (Luke 16:8-9) “For the people of this world are more shrewd (keen awareness and sharp intelligence) in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” Said another way, how we treat people…how we use our resources will reflect how people welcome us into heaven. Although I’m not sure the two are completely related, it sounds like what we commonly refer to as “karma.” 
IMG_7722 RS
With all that in mind…everything we have belongs to God. So, rather than asking ourselves if we have enough (money, stuff, etc), shouldn’t we be asking if we’re effectively using our stuff and our resources to help others? If we did just that, it would change our perspective on what we have.
  • Did I use my resources well? 
  • Did I leverage my stuff for God’s kingdom?
I am definitely asking myself if I’m using my resources well and leveraging my stuff…especially as it relates to my photography obsession. Is it just for me (a hobby or potential business) or can I use it to bring HIM glory?

How we handle our resources is also a test. Luke 16:10-12 says, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?” You probably know the next verse, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

The big question then is this: “who are you serving?”
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16 COMMENTS

    Wonderful post!! I work primarily with low income families and see daily their struggles. I can hardly watch TV anymore, in part because of the inequity ~ the celebrities and their outrageous excesses. $15,000 for a purse, when there are homeless children. It bothers me.

    Very thought-provoking, as you intended! Thanks for the work you do to prepare for us every week! It is appreciated…and sometimes better than the sermon I hear on Sunday!

    great… this is often a discussion with our daughters… it is amazing that we are working at home to be frugal, but all society bombards my kids with want…..

    great post

    Wonderful post! …I totally agree with Angela that it’s disgusting how celebs can spend the equivalent of someone’s yearly income on something as trivial as a purse.

    Amen…powerful truth!! We truly need to have the heart and compassion of Jesus.

    It is all His anyhow…

    If you were here right now you would see me jumping up and down cheering you on for this post saying *Yes and Amen!*

    Wow – you have really opened up this scripture for me and I LOVE that you ask these same questions about your photography that I do. I’m currently struggling w/pricing because how can I ‘be a blessing’ with my photography and yet keep prices fair, you know?

    And I love this:
    “shouldn’t we be asking if we’re effectively using our stuff and our resources to help others?”

    This is a great post. I can’t believe 2/3rds are living paycheck to paycheck. That’s amazing. My husband and I have definitely been trying not to let finances be a stress, but it’s hard to NOT have it be. Regular tithing has been teaching me to not think of my money as MY money. It’s just been given to me by God.

    I love this photo.

    I think a lot of people don’t realize how much excess we have. I know I have a ton of things that are frivolous. I try to be a good steward of the money that the Lord blesses us with. I try to listen to Him as He calls me to do things. But I know I could do more and help more with the blessings I have.
    My husband says all teenagers should be required to go on a mission trip to a developing country. That would cure them of their entitlement issues and the keeping up with the Jones mentality.
    I love hearing about your church series. You have a great church.

    We’ve never lived in debt and pray that we never do. Our boys even tithe, save and spend any money that they receive, in that order.

    I think it’s something that the world can’t hear enough. And, that shot is so, so awesome!

    Great post! It’s the same old question that people need to ask themselves. Are you letting the world and all the worldly things control you? Serving the Lord will make us rich beyond belief, however are people willing to pay that price?

    First of all, FLIPPIN cool photo girl!!!!!!!!!!!!! Your edits and creativity always inspire me.

    And money…………so true. I have seen it destroy so many lives and I have even seen it be a stress in my own marriage for no real reason. Then, we took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and wow it was just as much for our MARRIAGE, as it was for our finances. The course really unified us and now OUR MONEY NO LONGER CONTROLS US.

    I think there are soooooooo many people out there that don’t know just how much money has a negative hold on them…….it is really unreal the number of people I talk to that have no idea how it is controlling them in a negative way.

    Thanks for this post. More people need to hear it.

    This is great. We are going to a 3 hour money seminar on Sunday I can not wait.

    Another though provoking post, Ashley! I try to live within my means now and have reduced my need for material things. This means ‘editing’ the stuff I already own (keep and use timeless stuff) and it allows me not to purchase again.

    Of course, Sweepy does the same too ;-)

    I just love these posts!

    Great post. We’ve learned it’s better to live within our means.

    And that’s a cool picture, too! :)

    Great post! We have been trying to teach our kids contentment. Not always wanting the next thing but to be happy with what God has already blessed us with. It is difficult as we are always bombarded with advertising that tells them they “need” or “deserve” to have this or that. But in teaching them contentment, it has also taught me to be more content. Funny how that works that way. :)


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