Let’s talk a bit about wealth. The wealth which is given to us by God. It is mostly non-material, but I’d argue that there is quite a bit of “stuff” that God gives us gladly – and we receive in a similar fashion. It’s so often that we pray for God to give us this or that… and He does. But the first question to ask ourselves is: How long does it usually last us? That excitement, that recognition, that fulfillment.
So, let me ask you another one: When was the last time you looked at yourself, your life and the life around you and you said “I’m rich!“?
I honestly don’t meet too many people who share about such experiences with me. Up until recently I myself had issues recognizing everything which has been given to me. Then in a series of unfortunate events I actually was awaken and realized that, if I claim that I’m blessed by God, I ought to also consider myself as such. Put next to that the fact that when God gives, HE GIVES. It’s not like He’s joking around – He always gives exactly what is needed. This is how I came to the thought that recognizing God’s blessings should define my status as rich.
Today, with the immense growth of consumerism, gadget possession and whatever else there is that money can buy and which (we believe) defines us, it’s increasingly more difficult to count oneself as rich. There’s always going to be someone above us. Someone who went on the next i-Thing cue first, someone who managed to go up in the pre-order list… Someone who’s making a six-digit salary in EUR per year. I find it very interesting that so many people tend to compare ourselves with those who are better, have more, etc. Why is it that for once we can’t compare with the poorer, the needy, the hungry? I think I know part of the answer, and it fits in one word only: responsibility.
It seems to me that we want to run away from being held responsible and this is why we claim “I can’t do it. Get the richer people.” or “I can’t give more now, I’ve got my own needs to take care of.” Well, yes – we’ve all got our needs, problems, worries, and so on… and they always seem to be on the top of the list. But if we stop complaining and start living like blessed people we’ll need to reverse this upside-down. In practice too.
Whether you’re starting to believe that you’re rich or not, here’s a verse which should shake you up a bit. It’s what apostle Paul writes to the church in Philippi:
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
– Philippians 4:10-13, ESV
Learning to live a godly life in plenty and in need – perhaps this needs to be the new year’s resolution for us this time. If, as apostle Paul, we are able to rely on God and not on the things He gives us, then we’ll also be able to appreciate His blessings accordingly – whether they come in large or in a small package. And living this life of satisfaction no matter the situation will suddenly become possible.
This, I believe, is the first step to giving. Unless we see ourselves as rich in God we may never take on the responsibility that comes with the blessings – that to pass them on, to extend whatever it is that has brought us back on our feet to those who are still trying to get up.