There is a lot of discussion among politicians about the rich today. Of course no one seems to know how to define who is rich and who is not. Usually those who have more than us are rich and we are not. And there is always someone who has more. As I suggested in yesterday's blog, in a consumer society we start to believe the messages we are constantly bombarded with that wealth is the secret to satisfaction and happiness. I actually agree that wealth is a secret to happiness - it is all in the definition of wealth.
As an aside, 91% of our world lives on $10,000 a year or less and 54% of our world lives on $3.00 a day or less. So that puts wealth in perspective for most of us. By that definition I am wealthy - and so are most of my readers.
Financial wealth is nice but it won't bring happiness. Dollars are not the true definition of wealth. If it were true, only wealthy individuals would be happy and the more they have the happier they would be. We all know that is not the case. For many there is an inverse correlation between financial wealth and happiness precisely because the expectations that financial wealth can deliver satisfaction is an empty promise.
Want to get truly wealthy? I do! The Apostle Paul actually tells us how. He tells us "to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to generous and willing to share (1 Timothy 6:18)." In other words, give yourselves away, give your time and energy away and generously share what He has given us with others.
The result? "In this way (we) lay up treasure for (ourselves) as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that (we) may take hold of the life that is truly life (1 Timothy 6:19)." Here is the irony, in giving ourselves away and in being generous we not only put deposits into our future life in heaven but we "take hold of life that is truly life" in this life.
Both Solomon and Paul tell us that God "richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment (1 Timothy 6:17)." But enjoying what God has given does not take place when we hold on to it but when we are generous with it. And generosity can happen if we make $10,000 a year or ten million a year. It is not how much we have but it is what we do with what we have.
In politics today it is popular to tell the millionaires and billionaires that they should be more generous. In the Kingdom, God asks all of us to be generous. And ironically, the more generous we are the more we actually enjoy the provision God gives us. Good deeds, generosity and a willingness to share is life giving to us, while holding on to it is life taking and draining. It also stores us treasures in heaven where we will spend eternity rather than 80 plus years. Which bank account makes more sense?