Have we become blind to the fact that the Lord has put us in this position of wealth for a reason?
I remember as a kid, my friends would say to me, “If I were rich, I would ____________.” Well guess what? We are rich!
If your entire household is making a total annual income of $30,000 per year, then you are in the top 1.1% of people in the world by income. That puts 98.9% of the ENTIRE WORLD behind you in wealth.27
What if your household were only making $1,000 per month (or $12,000 per year)? Then you would still be among the richest 13% of people in the world.28
And if you’re household were making an annual income of $100,000 per year, you would be in the top 0.08% of people in the world by income.29
Many Christians will shrug this off and say one of two things:
To which I respond, “Yes, we are to be thankful. But we cannot be blind to the fact that the Lord has provided with this wealth so that we can invest it in His kingdom.”
1 John 3:17-18 says, “If anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
So I invite you to stop saying you’re a Christian and start becoming one. It is not enough to say, “Thank you, Lord,” and take no action.
Jesus notes in Luke 12:34 that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Question: Where is your treasure? Is it in advancing the gospel of Christ, or is it in building up wealth for yourself?
You actually don’t have to answer that question out loud; the answer is already found in the decisions that you are making on a daily basis.
It’s ironic how as Christians we’re always saying that we’re “seeking the will of the Lord” on certain things, yet when it comes to our money, it’s the last thing that we want to seek the will of the Lord on. I can’t even count the number of times that I’ve seen Christians up against a circumstance where they have to make a decision between (a) worldly possessions and (b) something that will have a significant spiritual impact on their lives, the lives of their children, or the lives of others. The majority of the time, they will choose the worldly possessions because “the Lord wants to bless them” and they feel they deserve it. “If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?” (Luke 16:12)
In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus gives us a parable.
For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
So what are you investing in? Are you the type of person who takes the money that the Lord has given you and invests it into the Kingdom? Or do you fall into the category of the one who is afraid?
Again, this is not a question that you need to verbally answer. You are already taking the money that God has given you and investing it in the things that are near to His heart, or you’re not. You’re either using the money that He’s entrusted to you on things that are edifying to God, or you’ve said (with your actions), “I am afraid, so I’ve taken what you’ve given me and buried it in the ground.” That is, you’ve chosen to bury it in the world through your possessions and lifestyle.
Yes, this is harsh, but Jesus’ words weren’t easy to hear for the Pharisees, and they’re not easy to hear for “Christians”.
Jesus goes on to say more in Matthew 25:34-46:
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.
Are you getting the picture here? Brothers and sisters in Christ, both in our communities and around the world, need our help. They need our time, and they need our financial support. But many Christians feel that they are in a position to provide neither.
Which brings me to the second response that I typically hear when I speak about us being the richest 1% of the population in the world.
My response to this response can be found in the next section, “A Conversation with Wisdom”, which was inspired by Proverbs 8. It’s a biblically based imaginary conversation between “Wisdom” (as defined in the book of Proverbs) and myself. As you’re reading, you’ll see numbers to provide verse references, which can be found at the end of the book. Note that verses have been slightly altered to be grammatically correct within the context of a conversation.
27 Referenced from www.globalrichlist.com
30 Definition by Dictionary.com