As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy 1 Timothy 6:17
America’s biggest problems as it relates to God is not abortion, as heinous as that is. Now that could be a controversial statement, because abortion—the murder of unborn human being—is a brutal God-defying act that takes place by the hundreds every day. It is legalized murder, but still murder, an injustice to the unborn, and it’s regularly performed in order to eliminate the consequences of illicit sex. So I admit, I could be wrong. Still most people are not having abortions. And majority of the population is opposed to it. However, the number one way, so I venture, that we replace God in our lives, is we are afflicted with ‘affluenza’.
Very simply, as Americans, our spending has gone up, our house have gotten bigger along with our cars and other toys, but the amount of our giving has stayed put. I speak mostly of Christians. Our standard of living has increased by virtue of a hundred thousand purchases, but our standard of giving has not gone up, and perhaps in some cases has gone down. It not that Christians are greedy. We simply flowing with the great tide of our society. Many families make more than they once did. In addition, commodities are cheaper, more abundant, as well as bigger and better. And this has created a new way of spending that did not exist 10 years ago. Thus our lifestyles, have increased materially and social, yet as believers we are not a bit different from our unbelieving neighbors.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m for wealth. Egalitarians are wrong. A wealthy society is better to live in that a poor one. And a society becomes more wealthy not by government redistribution but by everyone working. I am for going out and making profit. Money is a good gift from God. Paul even says that God richly provides us with everything to enjoy. So enjoy! You don’t glorify God if you don’t enjoy your house, your food, and your family.
However, that God gives you $100,000 does not mean that he is calling you to a $100,000 lifestyle. Read that again. It’s true. That much I say without a hint of uncertainty. Given the high premium of generous giving in the Bible, such a lifestyle would be evidence that one simply is not Christian, all claims to the contrary.
We simply need to wake up and to sober up to the reality of affluence (1 Pet. 1.13). Again, it is not that we are greedy. Rather, we are given a myriad of cheap choices and we take them. No purchase was itself wrong. But at the end of the year, for instance, we see that we have spent $1000 at Starbucks. Ok fine. But did your giving go up?
So Christians, we need to get back to sacrificial giving—that’s giving that makes a difference in the way we live. Will such giving be worth the sacrifice? Yes. Paul says of the rich–18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life (1 Timothy 6:18-19).
Don’t squirm away from this by saying you are not wealthy. Wealth is somewhat relative. By the world’s standards, present and past, middle class Americans are very wealthy. But we don’t need to go there. I simply ask you to compare yourself with yourself. Are you more wealthy now than you were? For many, and I mean many, the answer is yes. So are you laying a treasure in heaven by sacrificial giving? Or are you giving of your abundance, and spending on yourself like there is no tomorrow? Understand that you have your reward now.
God has sent his Son and has poured out his generous love so that we might be saved from this kind of selfishness. He did not die that we might pursue pleasures, but that we might be saved from such pursuits. Therefore, know that you have been redeemed from this bondage by the precious blood of Christ, as one without spot or blemish. Set your hope on him by choosing to cut back on your spending and increase your giving to His kingdom. By so doing you show for His worth in your life style.