Forgive Us Our Wealth
This article was first published in the Mississippi College student newspaper THE COLLEGIAN in September 2013
Let’s begin with a quote from the old American comedian, W. C. Fields: “A rich man is a poor man with money.” Our roots and our backgrounds are diverse, but at the end of the day we are all facing eternity. Every one of us will stand before the creator God and be judged, and those who believe in Jesus as the Son of God and put their hope in his death will be spared. This is the gospel. How does understanding and believing the gospel affect how we use our money?
I’m not from Mississippi so when I moved here, I read up about life in the Hospitality State. The “buckle” of the Bible belt is the poorest state in the US; it is also known to be the most generous state in the US. Speaking from a personal perspective, I have learned a lot on being generous alongside being kind to others — these are things that should go together. Paul encourages the believer to “…give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7). Don’t give time, effort, or money begrudgingly. It’s probably better to not give at all if it is not in your heart.
If I don’t have the heart to be generous, how do I get it? The answer to this always begins with the simple understanding that if God wants one thing and you want the opposite then it is imperative to pray for a new heart. We cannot will ourselves to have a different opinion about something unless God helps us. And God has already helped us! Do you consider the work accomplished on the cross as an act of great generosity? Or that Christ, who created the universe and all that is within it, gave up every right to the prestige of his eternal throne and took on the flesh of broken man? Do you know that his life was filled with every temptation, and yet he was sinless? He did this so that he could die a perfect, spotless sacrifice, satisfying the required punishment of sin according to the Law and sparing all who believe from the wrath of God. If you know this greatest gift of generosity, your money is nothing. Your time is nothing. Your efforts are nothing. You have probably heard before…