Would you consider yourself to be rich?
This post is somewhat a very powerful and provoking summary of a sermon I heard online about a year ago. It was quite an eye opener for me as a consequence has re-arranged my thinking about what constitutes being rich. A long time ago, the apostle Paul inspired by the Holy Spirit penned the following words:
1 Timothy 6:17a “Command those who are rich in this present world…
If we were to or have read this scripture, chances are we will say or have said to ourselves ‘I wonder who Paul is talking to and how rich they were and I hope they heeded the instructions’. It’s interesting to note that the verse starts with a very strong word and that is “command”. In other words, don’t just tell the rich folks but command them. It sounds like the rich folks ‘better listen’.
How relevant is this verse in our day and are we to heed the command if we are not rich? I know that I am leaving the rest of the verse out but the important point being made is to see whether it applies to us as well as those in Paul’s days who were considered rich. You might say ‘I am not rich’. That depends on how much money you think one is to have to be rich. In fact, think of a number or an amount that will make you call yourself rich. Hang on to that number for a moment.
There must a very valid reason as to why God would inspire Paul to address the rich. For one, they found themselves in separate category and our heavenly Father loves them as much as the rest who do not meet the criterion of being rich. Being rich can be stressful. To which some might say ‘well – in that case – I want the stress of being rich’. Understood.
No wonder God had to speak to the rich people, look at just a few of the issues they have to deal with:
• Rich people have extra money.
• Rich people have so much food – throw all food away to make room for new food.
• Their kids have a lot of stuff and they give them more stuff.
• There’s social pressure.
• Stare at the closets because they have plenty of clothes then conclude “I have nothing to wear’. What a dilemma.
• House for their cars called ‘garage’.
• Guest room – which somebody ‘might’ sleep in someday.
Does this apply to us? Well, let’s look at a our present situation and see what God would say to us or equally important how much money will you and me need to be rich. Here’s what a national Gallup poll found:
• People who make less than $30,000 per year thought those who make $70,000 were rich.
• People who make between 30K -50K a year say those who make 100K are rich.
• Average American, according to the survey, thinks 120K per household is rich.
What about the top income earners? What do they think?
• They get a bit more technical – and say they need to have 5 millions in asset to be rich.
• The person with 2.5 million is aiming for 5 millions thinking he’s not rich.
Rich sorts of become a moving target. You can cross the line and not know whether you are rich or not. How does being rich compare to the rest of the world?
• Only 4% of wage earner in the world earns $37,000 or more.
• Only 1% of wage earner in the world earns $45,000 or more.
That’s the whole world. Global. Fascinating.
So the question from the beginning was: Would you consider yourself to be rich? I am part of the top 1% wage earner in the world. Yes – the world. The lesson here is to admit being rich and not feel guilty about it. No offense to anyone unemployed or facing financial hardship but the majority of people are rich. There is no need to take a guilt trip because it is God who has blessed you and me with more than we need. May I be grateful and more thankful! We cannot take any credit because it is God who has given us more than we need.
If you thought of a number – did you think you were rich? We might not think we are rich because we don’t feel rich. Our target is the ‘Joneses’ because they are still better than we are.
Now the rest of the verse goes:
1 Tim 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
How appropriate is the above verse in light of what’s going on in our economy and around the world.
Thanks for reading.