Rich VS Poor

 

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I believe that these two terms are relative terms. I know people who are wealthy (aka rich), but who are poor in spirit. They are miserable. Their wealth did not lift their spirits at all. I also know people who are on the poverty line who are full of joy and peace. They would probably like to have more money, but they find joy in the little things of life. For some reason, it seems that our culture gravitates to the wealthy instead of the poor. I believe it’s because we think the rich will share their wealth, while the poor have very little excess to share with anyone. I came across a passage in James and it hit me that I really do show favoritism to the rich. Check this out…

1My brothers and sisters, do not show favoritism as you hold on to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. For if someone comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and a poor person dressed in filthy clothes also comes in, if you look with favor on the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Sit here in a good place,” and yet you say to the poor person, “Stand over there,” or “Sit here on the floor by my footstool,” haven’t you made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Didn’t God choose the poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? (James 2:1-5 CSB)

People who are wealthy know lots of others who are wealthy. They also know others who have more money than they have. Poor people know others who are poor and especially the ones who have less money than them. I see money as a medium. It doesn’t do anything except what it’s told to do. It’s like planting seed in the soil – whatever seed is planted is what comes up. The soil was a medium. It can grow kudzu or it can grow grass.

I felt deep conviction after reading this today, because I find myself passing judgement on others based on how they carry themselves, how they dress, the type of car they have or how nice of a house they live in. This is a dangerous behavior. James goes on to say that this is “straight up” sin. I am passing judgement on someone’s worth based on their bank account rather than their heart.

The Lord is way more concerned with my heart and my obedience than the size of my bank accounts. In fact, I believe the Lord is drawn to the poor – Jesus was born to a Carpenter (blue collar) and visited by shepherds (blue collar) and wise men (white collar). Look at the disciples that Jesus called to serve alongside Him…. They were fishermen, tax collectors – very ordinary people who I would contend didn’t have a lot of material possessions or money.

I want to be wealthy in spiritual values. When I’m blessed with material wealth, I want to invest it in His Kingdom and people made in the image of God. I’m seeing forgiveness when I’ve made my life about me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Recession Proof

 

House and money on scalesI’m still having conversations with people regarding the recession that started in 2007 and ended in 2010 for a lot of people. There are people today, 7 years later still suffering from the “fall out” of that downturn in the market. There were some good people who lost their retirement savings or their fortune. I learned a lot during that time and I made some decisions about being in that place of fear and struggle. I started reading, researching and learning how to avoid the decisions that caused such harm to so many people. I studied the teaching of Dave Ramsey about dumping debt and how Romans 13:8 is good counsel. Check this out….

Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:8 CSB)

I don’t know a lot of people who were not affected profoundly by the recession. I have seen many start to repeat some of the same behaviors that cost them severely during that time. I have also seen wisdom in others determined to not ever be that vulnerable financially again.

Paul gives Timothy some excellent instruction regarding wealth management. I’m trying to look at my money different than I ever have before. Check this out…

17 Instruct those who are rich in the present age not to be arrogant or to set their hope on the uncertainty of wealth, but on God, who richly provides us with all things to enjoy. 18 Instruct them to do what is good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and willing to share, 19 storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of what is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19 CSB)

According to research done by Forbes magazine, the poor in America live better than 95 percent of the world’s population. (June 1, 2013) I believe that with our wealth, comes responsibility.  I think it’s critical to bring our money management under the authority of The Lord. Check this out…

But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:9-10 CSB)

Money is not evil. Money is a medium – it does the work of people in possession of it. I can use it to evil or I can use it to do good. I would be wise to grow in my management of money. It’s way too easy to spend and harder to earn and keep.  Becoming aware of my money management skills (or lack thereof) is critical to handling it wisely and with a godly spirit. I do enjoy having extra money. I feel blessed to have learned some valuable lessons during the recession that I plan on implementing into my life for the rest of my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Poor

poor  gypsy go beggingI believe “poor” to be a relative term. There are those in our community that I would consider poor and it’s not because they don’t have money – it’s because they haven’t surrendered to the Lord. They are still trying to do life on their terms instead of His. I also believe that financially speaking, poor is a bit relative.  There are some people appear wealthy – who choose to drive expensive cars, live in very large homes – they look the part, but they are in debt up to their eyeballs. I call those people “fake rich” because they are owned by someone else or something else. There are some people who try to impress and “out do” people that they don’t know or even like.  I have seen poor people. I’ve been to Nicaragua – I’ve served the homeless. Many of these people have very little in financial terms, but they are full of joy anyway. They don’t necessarily know any other way to be right now.

I have been “broke” and I’ve had money saved and I must admit that I’m happier and more joyful with money in the bank. I’ve decided that I don’t want to forget what it’s like to struggle financially. I don’t ever want to forget that the Lord was with me during the struggle. He is also with me during times of plenty and blessing. He wants to be Lord of my life no matter what my financial situation is.

King David warned wealthy people whom he could identify with – because he was King and he was wealthy. He trusted the Lord even though he was successful. Check this out…

1 The fool says in his heart,

    ‘There is no God.’

They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;

    there is no one who does good.

4 Do all these evildoers know nothing?

They devour my people as though eating bread;

    they never call on the Lord.

5 But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,

    for God is present in the company of the righteous.

6 You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor,

    but the Lord is their refuge. (Psalm 14:1,4-6 NIV)

I’d rather be poor and have the Lord as my leader and my confidant than to be wealthy and estranged from Him. I’ve been both and I like building wealth much better. When I’m compared to people who live at or below the “poverty level”, I’m wealthy. When I’m compared to a billionaire, I’m poor. With the Lord in my heart and in charge of my life I can be focused and filled with joy in either circumstance. This life is not all about how much I can acquire before I die – this life is about honoring God with all I am and all I have. The enemy is attracted to wealth – so I want to be cautious when I prosper.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Equalizer

Cardiac massage. first aid for heart attackThere are different classes of people in this world. The “gap” between the different groups of people can be huge. First there is rich and poor. There are people with great power and the people with no power. There are people who are famous and people who are unknown. There is the upper class, middle class, lower class and “no class” of people. Every person I know can move in and out of the classifications, but there are some things that come along and make us equal as humans. Check this out…

1 See, the Lord is going to lay waste the earth
    and devastate it;
he will ruin its face
    and scatter its inhabitants –
2 it will be the same
    for priest as for people,
    for the master as for his servant,
    for the mistress as for her servant,
    for seller as for buyer,
    for borrower as for lender,
    for debtor as for creditor.
3 The earth will be completely laid waste
    and totally plundered.
The Lord has spoken this word. (Isaiah 24:1-3 NIV)

 

As I was thinking about the equalizer, I first thought that sickness as an equalizer, but I realized that people with great resources can often acquire greater attention and care to their sickness. Ultimately though, death is the great equalizer – we will all face death one day. It doesn’t matter what classification of people you fit into – death will visit us all. Death is often seen as the enemy of life, but there are times he’s a friend. I can’t research a lot of data on this subject because people who die can’t give us great insight to what is next.

I believe that God created life and that when Adam and Eve sinned that death was introduced as the opposite of life. I also believe that God made a way – The Way, The Truth and The Life through one death – His Son, Jesus. I believe that He has restored what He originally intended with us as humans – eternal life. I believe that while death is the great equalizer, knowing Jesus is the biggest threat to the sting of death. He offers life after death – eternal life. I also know that since I’ve gotten to know the Lord, He has made me less fearful of “the great equalizer” because I know Who holds me – no matter what comes my way.

Pressing On!
Dwayne