I Wish I Was Rich

Surely you’ve had the filthy-rich daydream before, right? Maybe you heard about the latest tech billionaire who turned a little app into gold by selling it to Facebook or Google. Or maybe you heard of lotteries with their prizes stretching into the hundreds of millions or the guy who made the little investment in just the right company at just the right time. You heard about it and thought, “I wish I was rich. I know what I’d do with that money.”

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If you’ve had the daydream, you have undoubtedly considered what a generous Christian could do with hundreds of millions of dollars. Think of the ventures he could support, the churches he could build, the missionaries he could sponsor. Let your mind run free for a few minutes and you could draw up a plan to spend every dollar and cent for the good of the kingdom. And you would, right?

In all probability you will never be rich. You will never have hundreds of millions of dollars to allocate to one ministry or the other. You will never be the person divvying up your billions before you die. But you don’t need a million or a billion to know what you would do with extravagant wealth. You can simply look at your current patterns and project from there. If you aren’t being extravagantly generous with the bit you have now, what makes you think that having more would suddenly make all the difference? Generosity isn’t about how much you have, but what you do with the bit you do have. It isn’t about what you would do with more, but what you actually do with what you’ve got.

How are you using the wealth God has already given you? Are you attentive? Are you creative? Are you generous? Do you give enough that it makes a difference to you and your family (so you have less than you otherwise would) and to the lives or ministries of others (so they have more than they otherwise would)? If you aren’t being generous today with modest wealth there is no reason to think you would be generous tomorrow with abundant wealth.

It strikes me that in Jesus’ parable of the talents (see Matthew 25) the questions and expectations are the same for all three servants, whether they had been given five talents or two or one. The mark of faithful stewardship was proportional to what had been entrusted to them by their master. The one who had been given five returned ten, the one who had been given two returned four; there was no comparison or competition between them, for each had been equally faithful with their unequal endowment. In all likelihood, God will never call you to be that five-talent servant, the one who has been given the extravagant wealth. But whether he gives you two or one, the expectation is the same—that you will steward it with joy and generosity to carry out the work of God on earth.

You already have enough money—enough to do what God means for you to do, enough to prove your loyalty to him and your disloyalty to money. You already have enough to make a difference in lives and ministries. You already have enough to be as generous or as stingy as you would be with billions. Rather than spending your days dreaming about what you would do if you had more, spend your days working hard to make a living and then give with joyful generosity (see Ephesians 4:28, 1 Thessalonians 4:11). When the day comes that God requires an accounting for all he has entrusted to you, I suspect you will be content that God did not entrust you with even more. I suspect you will agree with his wisdom in giving you just two talents or one.

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