THE PROBLEM WITH BEING RICH:
Is there a problem with being rich? When we look into Scripture we see some very interesting and very challenging thoughts about possessing riches of this world and how it affects our overall disposition about eternal riches, which are the greater riches.
Luke 1:53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. NIV
Right up front we see that Jesus fills the hungry and sends the rich away empty. The reality is that satisfied people leave God’s presence unfulfilled.
When we are full of other things we have no appetite for the things of God. I tend to be pretty spontaneous and many times I’ve called friends to ask them to go and eat only to hear, “Oh I just ate!” It’s not that they don’t want to have a meal. It’s simply that they already had one and aren’t hungry at the moment. Many times this is how we come into God’s presence if we’re not careful. It’s not that we are purposing not to engage. It’s just that we are so full of other things we slip into a casual attitude about the lavish Table of the Lord that is before us.
The problem with being rich is it makes it so easy to be full of yourself! Rich people don’t need to pray for God to provide a car. Rich people just go get a car and I will make a car payments so they own their car. This makes it more difficult to understand we are a stewards rather than owners because we master our course and determine the conclusion of our situation without even thinking about inquiring with God.
The problem with being rich is the idea that having more is a better life. When actually it’s not about having that brings true life; it’s about giving. Like saturated sponges that can’t absorb more until squeezed out we must sacrificially empty ourselves through loving, serving & giving as a lifestyle.
The problem with being rich is it never seems to solve your money problem. Rich always seems to be a financial level beyond what I have acquired. People making $35k/yr said making $75k/yr was rich. People making $75k/yr said they were rich but rather making $150k/yr is rich. This report continues all the way up into the millions and each level suggests it is another level that is defined as rich.
The problem with being rich is that we always feel just a little more money will solve our money problems. This is truly a problem because the wealthiest Nation in the world reports their leading cause of stress is money.
Fortune Magazine reported in Sept of 2015: The U.S. with $63.5 trillion in total private wealth holds the largest amount of any country in the world.
The top countries and their percentages of total global personal wealth are as follows:
United States — 41.6%
China — 10.5%
Japan — 8.9%
U.K. — 5.6%
Germany — 3.9%
The U.S. has substantially more private wealth than any nation in the world! Yet another report last year by CBS reported on a survey that revealed that money is the leading cause of stress for Americans. This same report spoke of a previous survey that reported there was no difference in average stress levels between those who earned more and those who earned less than $50,000.
A person standing on the side of the street asking for money simply believes he or she needs more money. If they don’t get their thinking right more money won’t help them! If the mind isn’t repaired God’s blessing leaks right out of our lives. We would all tend to agree with this statement about these people less fortunate than us but for some reason tend to be completely blind about how this applies to our own lives.
Just because you choose your master doesn’t mean you’re not a slave.
Luke 18:18-30 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’” 21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?” 27 Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” 28 Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!” 29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.” NIV
Notice that the rich young ruler was so arrogant that he interrupted the Son of God who he was pursuing to discover true life. Jesus was naming the Commandments and before he got very far in them the man interrupts declaring he’d kept them all his life. This was when Jesus went straight to the heart dealing with the treasures of his life that had enslaved him.
If you know somebody who tends to be self absorbed then you know somebody who is unhealthy and probably even toxic in their approach to life. God knows how destructive it is for us to be self-absorbed. This is why God has always made some form of sacrifice as a part of his plan for worship. The rhythm of a sacrificial routine of gathering, serving, living & giving together as a church family is incredibly healthy to your life!
We must consistently be stretched beyond ourselves.
GP4RL: Purpose at least one meal of beans and rice this week to consider those in third world countries who eat this every day. Pray before the meal giving thanks and again after the meal for people in need.
Post a pic of your meal with #firstworldproblems to encourage others on this journey.