This past weekend, my church continued our new series “Rich People Syndrome,” by getting us to think about why we have so much. If you’re interested in seeing/listening to the original message, click HERE.
Interestingly enough, this is a message that my husband and I have been reflecting on all week. In fact, this week, my husband dropped his car off at the shop for what we feared would cost several thousand dollars. He received a call today that the repair would only cost $500. While thankful, we had to ask ourselves what the average person…living paycheck to paycheck…does when they’re met with that sort of bill? Just moments later, he was pulled over for something silly – silly or not, there’s definitely a fine. A few hours later, we were on our way home when we hit a deer. Not only did we lose a life, but we’ve got the financial cost of our deductible…and probably an increase in our insurance policy. Again – how does the average person/family handle these types of unexpected expenses…and why have we been blessed with enough to be able to deal?
I tell you this story because if God wanted our money, he would just take it. But he sees our money as a resource to help build his kingdom. Our money is also a test of our loyalty. As you’ll recall in Luke 16:13, “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.” I do believe that my husband and I have done a good job of saving our money. We don’t live above our means, but if we dwell on the money that we’re losing as a result of these recent experiences rather than being thankful that we have even have the resources, we’ve missed the point. God never throws us more than we can handle.
To that point, many people find themselves carrying financial burdens that are almost too much to bear – and in some cases, to no fault of their own. I’ve read stories of families who were faced with health-related issues that literally bankrupt them. In times like these, we become extra spiritual. We’re never afraid to ask for help in those times of need. On the other hand, so many people find themselves increasing their lifestyle as they increase their income…and as a result, increasing financial pressure. It’s not a “need” problem…it’s a “want” problem…perhaps even a “greed” problem. In a culture that teaches us to keep asking, “why don’t I have more,” shouldn’t we be asking “why do I have so much?” When we seem to have enough, we hardly stop to give praise…we just ask for more.
Consider the parable of the rich fool (click HERE). In the story, a rich farmer has excess crop…so much so that he runs out of storage room. Rather than give away some of the excess, he decides to tear down his barns and build bigger barns. With this news (Luke 12:20-21), “God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” Our lives do not consist of an abundance of possessions. If I relate this back to yesterday’s situation, I feel like this scripture hit us square between the eyes. Lesson learned.
If we have extra, it is not so we can increase our lifestyle…it is so we can be rich towards God. How do we do that?
GIVE (in church we’re often told to give 10% – that’s typically a guideline, but we can always give more), SAVE (if you don’t have a savings account, start one – direct deposits are a great way to go so you never see the money to begin with) and LIVE ON THE REST.
If there’s extra, we should be taking a step back and asking if there’s a need we can answer. If we find that we can’t follow the above formula, then perhaps we should scale back…that may mean selling some things on eBay or Craig’s List so we can go back to living within our means.
With that said, why do YOU think we have so much?