Are You Rich?

My aunt lived in D.C. – my cousins and I referred to her as our “rich aunt.” She gave us interesting gifts for our birthdays and Christmas – nothing we had asked for, but always something unique – clothes that were just a smidge ahead of fashion in the Bluegrass – or an enormous book to educate us on American history. She had nice things, but she did not have a lot of nice things. After she died, I realized that she wasn’t wealthy – at least not according to the world’s standards. She had just been extremely generous.

If you could choose, how would you prefer to be remembered – as a rich person – or as a generous person? 

Being rich is an attitude of the heart – as is generosity. Andy Stanley wrote a wonderful little book he titled “How To Be Rich.” His premise is that most Americans actually ARE rich, but we don’t know what to do with what we have. 

He offers a quote by John Wesley, who wrote, “When I have money, I get rid of it quickly lest it find a way into my heart.” And that’s often the problem with wealth – it finds a way into our heart – taking first priority – a place where God should be.

Although this year we’ve been inundated with pandemic statistics and protocols, there is another epidemic that has swept our country; and that is an epidemic of wealth. Just as we are seeking antibodies or a vaccine to prevent or cure the disease that is zipping through the land, Andy Stanley suggests we also need to seek treatment for the side effects of wealth – side effects such as needing the most updated version of everything – technology, home, clothing -- or thinking you need MORE of what you already have.

The suggested treatment for the side effects of wealth actually cures some other ailments, such as discontent, jealousy, apathy, and the desire to impress others. The best treatment to counter the side effects of wealth is… generosity. 

So how do we learn to be generous? Jesus gives us a starting point in Luke 16:

“He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.” (Luke 16:10)

Generosity starts with what you have – even if it’s very little. And as you learn to be faithful and honest stewards – and generous with what little you have -- you will be training yourself to be generous and faithful when you have more.

Father, heal us from the side effects of wealth, and help us become generous people… because we want to be more like You, our generous God. Amen.

By Judy Shrout

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