Pay It Forward1
In this country we have much to be thankful for. We are a rich nation, and that’s not just the ultra-wealthy “1%” you hear so much about. The reality is, most Americans rank comfortably in top 10% of world wealth.
In many ways we’re like the wealthy man that’s mentioned in three of the four gospels. He’s sometimes referred to as “the rich, young ruler.”
This guy was intrigued by what Jesus taught, so he asked what he needed to do to obtain eternal life. Then he listened as Jesus listed a few of the ten commandments.
As a Jew, the wealthy man understood what Jesus was telling him, but he realized there must be more. So he said “I’ve done that…what else?” Jesus responded, “Go, sell all you have and give it to the poor. Then come follow me.”
Shocked, the young man turned and walked away. Jesus was sad, because he really liked him.
Surprisingly, far more people pass the poverty test than the prosperity test. People with few resources tend to rely on God far more than people who have a lot at their disposal. Put another way: more people find Jesus inside prison walls than on Wall Street.
Living in a prosperous nation is a blessing…for now. Depending on how we manage our attitudes, it can be a blessing for eternity, too.
Here are two ways to ensure your “for now” blessing translates into an “eternal blessing” when this life ends.
First…go public with your dependence on God.
Look for ways to publicly declare your faith in God…something that that fits your personality and environment. It can be as simple as giving thanks before a meal or giving God credit when someone compliments your work.
When the wealthy man walked away, Jesus’ disciples asked, “If he can’t be saved, then who can?” Jesus’ answer holds the key to our salvation:
“…with God everything is possible.”
– Matthew 19:26 (NLT)
Self-reliance is the biggest trap of prosperity. This man’s wealth didn’t keep him from eternal life. His unwillingness to depend on God did!
Second…leverage what you have for the good of others.
Use your prosperity to help people in need. The Bible is very clear about the importance of assisting others. And I’m not just talking about money!
Everything you do is important. Jesus talked about feeding hungry people, caring for illnesses, providing clothes…even things as simple as giving a drink of water!
Jesus said that when you help people in need, you are actually helping him! His exact words:
“…anything you did for even the least of my people here, you also did for me.”
– Matthew 25:40 (NCV)
Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “you can’t take it with you”. That’s true…but you can send it ahead. You do that by using what you have to help others.
This Thanksgiving, I encourage you to take a moment with your family and friends to acknowledge your dependence on God. Give him credit for the prosperity. After all, it did come from him!
Then take the second step by helping people who need assistance. Maybe you have a family member that needs a boost this Christmas. Perhaps a coworker or friend is struggling. Find the need, and fill it.
Let’s not fail the test of prosperity! Instead, let’s pass with flying colors by generously helping people around us!
Did you find this blog helpful? Share with a friend that could use a lift! It might be just the type of help they need! And be sure to share your thoughts below!