Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Weight of Wealth II

Wealth is a term often used in reference to those who have a lot of money or property. Though people with a lot of money and property are wealthy, poverty, or wealth for that matter, is relative. All throughout scripture and ancient writings there is warning concerning the pursuit of wealth, yet most of us spend our days and nights working toward greater riches. Perhaps this duplicity, if not understood in wisdom, is one reason for the amount of confusion and anxiety we feel. Frankly, for those who have felt The Weight of Wealth, or the WOW factor as a friend called it, no real explanation is needed. This is not a new conundrum or source of anxiety. Thousand of years ago, a very wise king Solomon, who had all the wealth he could ever spend, proclaimed the following (I can only imagine in great frustration) and came to this conclusion:

“Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.”
–Ecclesiastes 5:10

Recently, I was discussing with a client and friend this WOW factor at great length, and he described the questions he had concerning his children and grandchildren. How much should I leave them? When should I leave it for them? Would they be better or worse stewards if they received an inheritance early rather than late? Even greater was the Weight he felt in light of the significant wealth he had been entrusted and the needs of our world and God's Kingdom. The BIG question for him, and us I would add, is 'how much do we keep in light of our mandate to care for the poor, comfort the widow and orphan...and the list goes on. All of these are good questions that need to be thought through and discussed if we are going to fully live out our rich calling as followers of Jesus - the one who provides us with the power to get wealth in the first place. Scripture is replete with examples of good and bad stewardship, and our culture today is no less representative, yet where do men and women and families go to discuss the spiritual 'calling' of what to do with our stuff? I would say we need community and wise counsel that considers your spiritual and emotional needs as well as financial. Community and the search for wisdom can have a positive effect on the soul's longing for significance.

For an illuminating picture of the pursuit of wealth I suggest taking a few minute and reading Leo Tolstoy's short story, How Much Land Does a Man Need. It will change your life perspective. Cheers!

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