But like they say, if you don’t play, you can’t win. I have daydreamed though about suddenly becoming a multi-millionaire. About being rich. You have too. We’ve actually run into each other at the same luxury car dealership, the same 1st-class airline compartment to Europe in our intersecting dreams.
But I am rich. And many of you are too, probably. Even with debt, I still have choices in life. I am thankful for those choices. I enjoy those choices. I can choose where to eat, what shirt to buy, where to vacation (within reason). I live in middle-class America. I am not the 1%. But because of the choices I have in life, I am rich – by 90% of the world’s standards.
The bible’s too. Life expectancy in biblical times was 50 yrs. That’s if you made it past age 10 w/o dying of disease or injury. A successful career was to provide enough food and shelter and clothing for your family. You were fortunate to not die from the constant threat of war from neighboring enemies or from persecution for your faith. “Family vacation” for many was saving so you could travel by foot or camel to Jerusalem, where you bought animals to sacrifice for your sins.
What if our definition of rich today was not based on $$$ but rather on comparing ourselves to those in the bible or those in the vast majority of today’s world? Our definition of “rich” would perhaps change and end up being defined by the following question: “Do I have the luxury of making different choices in life in terms of food/clothing/shelter/recreation?”
The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy re: the rich:
“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” [1 Tim. 6:17-19]
If we’re the “rich” Paul is speaking to, what responsibility do we then have towards other believers in need? What would that mean about our non/urgency to do good works towards the poor? Our generosity towards the work of the church? Jesus became spiritual “poor” by taking on human flesh so that you and I could become rich in the blessing of his eternal life [2 Cor. 8:9]. That’s supposed to be enough for us to be rich in generosity and good works towards others. But it’s easy to forget the debt we owe Christ sometimes. Storing up treasures in heaven (v.19) shouldn’t be lost out on because we’ve lost sight of our spiritual and real life riches in this world.