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

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

Rich & Proud

Man with arrogant expressionI’ve met people who are very wealthy and extremely humble. I’ve also met people who are wealthy and extremely arrogant and proud. Then there are those who act rich, but are really up to their eyeballs in debt. (I’ve been there & done that and have the scars to prove it.) A wealthy person and a poor person both bleed the same and hurt the same – They both need the Lord. Check this out….

10 The name of the Lord is a fortified tower;

    the righteous run to it and are safe.
11 The wealth of the rich is their fortified city;

    they imagine it a wall too high to scale.
12 Before a downfall the heart is haughty,

    but humility comes before honor. (Proverbs 18:10-12 NIV)

 

I watched as a lot of wealthy people in our area tasted big slices of humble pie during the economic downturn in the past few years. I also watched as others suffered, but you couldn’t tell how much their losses were, because their life wasn’t built around their wealth.

I want to have a self-imposed humble heart.

I want to be rich in love toward others.

I want to stay close to the Lord for shelter and safety.

I love the song “Strong Tower” performed by Kutless.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

I Want To Be Rich

bullions and piggy bank in a security safeI’m not gonna lie – I’d love to win the lottery! I’d love to take my shot at sharing all that wealth with my family. I also realize that I have to play the lottery to win. I think I’ve played once or twice in an office pool. I would honestly like to have more money than I have currently. I don’t know that I can say I NEED more money – I just WANT more money. I do think that learning contentment is probably one of the toughest challenges to my walk with the Lord. I like stuff and I want more stuff. Those who know me well, know that I’m a “techie” – I love new and improved tech toys like the computer I’m typing on, or the phone I talk on, or the blue-tooth headset – I could go on and on!

I’ve started reflecting on this a lot more, the older I get. How much money is enough? How much do I want to have saved for retirement? How much more service can I get out of my vehicles in order to save more. I’ve learned to live with less during the recent recession because I had less income. There were a lot of people like me who learned the difference between wants and needs during that tough economic downturn.  The principle of contentment remains whether my bank account is fat or skinny. Paul speaks out on this subject to Timothy, his “son” in the faith. Check this out…

 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
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. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:10-12; 17-19 NIV)

 

I want to be eternally rich. I want to provide for my family here on earth, but I really want them to desire eternal riches more than earthly riches every day of the week. I want to be rich in good deeds. I want to be rich in generosity. I want to be rich in honor. I want to invest in my eternal retirement plan that stores up treasure in Heaven. I want to have the life that is Truly Life!

Pressing On!
Dwayne