The love of money brings about all sorts of evil. While a rich man may be successful at being rich (having lots of money), this does not mean he is successful. For one must look at how this man became rich and the purpose he has for his money to decide if his wealth is truly fruitful.
Sadly, humanity is tempted to judge a person’s success by their material outcome.
For example, a man can become rich by deceit, robbery, and trampling the poor. There is no end to the evil this person may do to gain his wealth. The outcome is their value. Their focus is self-reward at any cost to others.
Even their own moral code is for sale. Whatever is necessary to get rich is the open highway they cruse.
Amos, the prophet, writes of these people, “…they cheat with dishonest scales. They buy the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals and even sell the chaff!” (Amos 8:5-6).
Self is their center. Self is their matter. Self at the cost of others is their process to becoming rich. And joy never fills their heart. Enough is never enough.
On the other hand, a rich person who gets his gain by giving is one whose process is praiseworthy. They have boundaries and limits that they set for themselves to follow. These provide guard rails that keep them on the righteous path.
Their value is not money; it’s giving. Success is found in charity.
Paul tells us about these people and their idea of being rich. They know where their richness comes from… We read in 2 Corinthians 9:10, “Now (God) who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.”
Their righteousness is the ability to give to others, especially to those who are in need.
These people also fully understand the purpose of the excess, the profit, the richness; “You will be enriched in every way for all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to God through us. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many acts of thanksgiving to God” (2 Corinthians 9:11-12).
I had the opportunity to give someone some money earlier this week. They did not ask for it. I had not planned on giving any money to them that day. We had a conversation, and she told me of her family who was suffering great loss. She shared that she was saving money to send them things they needed. She did not have enough to mail them this package. As she shared her story, I remembered that I had $47 cash on me. I had planned to use it for myself that day…you know some lunch, a little Christmas shopping, etc. But in that moment as this woman talked, the Spirit led me to give it all to her. The tears of joy and gratefulness that streamed from her eyes were joy to my heart! I feel rich, not because my bank account has lots of money, because it surely does not, but because I gave. Giving makes us rich. I trusted that the $47 dollars could be provided by my Father in heaven if I should truly need it. Did I eat lunch that day? Yes. Did I have enough to buy a few gifts for others? Not really but that was okay. Do I miss that $47 dollars? No. What I remember is not the loss of money but the joy and peace of the one in need.
You may have one dollar in the bank and be rich; what you do with that money and the process by which you increase it determines if you are the selfish person or the selfless. Likewise, you may a $1,000 dollars in the bank and be poor because of how you use the money and the process by which you increase it.
The outcome of the selfish person is more money for himself. The outcome of the selfless person is more people giving praise to our God in heaven. Money is not the issue, it’s the tool. And the tool must be desired for the right reasons.
As you meet situations in your life where giving or keeping is the choice, which will you choose? Determine if the giving will encourage praising and pleasing our Father in heaven. I have often seen God grow the dollars in my account because I have given of my last dollar to one in need. I have had the opportunity to meet a need and trust the Lord for His provision. And you know what? I have never been disappointed in the outcome! God has always provided! Always! Has He adjusted my pathway by it? Yes. However, the adjustment has righted me on a path of great peace and joy, for it is better to give than to receive.
It’s heartbreaking to see a need and not have the means to meet that need. The Spirit calls and we are unable. I’ve been there. Nothing is more distressing. In those times I have discovered that my priorities of self-serving have gotten in the way of the Spirit’s leading. And when God has peeled away my selfishness, He has shown me that even in my “poverty” there is seed to sow. In those times of little, I have given to others and have seen God increase my seed. In turn the ability to give has matched the Spirit’s leading.
This is joy, my friends! This is joy! Being rich is not lots of money; it’s lots of giving!
We are in that season where giving is easy; we hear it all the time that Christmas is the season of giving. Sadly, the season of giving stops after December. Then selfishness takes is ride again.
How about we change this habit and seek to be givers all throughout the year. Why limit our joy to one month, when we can live it twelve months out of the year? I’m not talking about having Christmas every month; I’m talking about being attentive to the needs of others and realizing that gaining wealth serves a greater purpose than being richer for ourselves.