"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. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 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 6:17:19
If you are reading this on the internet the passage above probably is full of commandments for you. You and I are so rich. As I type this on our laptop not our desktop or our tablet, I have just finished a great lunch in a two story house that I own and later today I will be driving my own car on paved roads to do a job that will pay me more money like the money I have in my bank account or my wallet. Am I in the American upper-class economically? No. But I am filthy rich, so rich that at times it keeps me from having to trust God. In fact, if you make more than $34,000 a year you are in the top 1% of the world's richest people. I make in two weeks roughly what the global median salary is for a year. That means, without my wife's contributions (and she makes more than I do), I make at least 26 times what half of the world makes.
So, I, and likely you, must listen to Paul's words to Timothy. We must take these words to heart and not pass them on to the top 1% in America only. We too often read warnings to the rich and think of those in Beverly Hills. No, this warning is very applicable to me right here in Waverly, Iowa.
I must not be arrogant or put my hope in wealth. It's very easy to put my hope in my health insurance or savings account, my hope must be in God. I must not concern myself with laying up treasures here on earth. My time on this present earth is very brief compared to the eternity on the New Earth.
So, what must I do instead?
1) Enjoy God's provisions. Wealth is not bad necessarily. I can enjoy the gifts that God has given me. Not hoard them, but enjoy them. Not be chiefly concerned with keeping them, but with enjoying them.
2) I must be generous. I believe that any abundance that God has given us is meant to be shared. I'm to be rich in good deeds, generous and willing to share. A Christian is a steward of God's things, so I must use God's things as our generous God would have me. I must see my stuff as an opportunity to serve. For instance, I got a snowblower through a trade this year and I've had fun a couple of times using it to snow-blow the neighbors drive, if I think my stuff is just for me I've missed the point.
3) We must invest in lasting things. Paul says that I should do the things in #2 so that I might invest in my eternal life, the life to come. In fact, when I am generous, willing to share and use my resources to do good Paul would say that I am most enjoying life.
So, fellow rich people we must listen to warnings and instructions that God has for those of us with wealth. We must enjoy God's things, not hoard them. We must live lives characterized by giving. Finally, we must spend our lives investing in what really matters most. To quote from Spider-Man, "With great power comes great responsibility." What are you doing for good as a member of the world's wealthiest today?