© Copyright 2001, by Jan Wallen
I've always been fascinated with gadgets. And I'm always intrigued with finding a better, or easier way to get something done. I can't count the times I've been browsing through my favorite home improvement store to find some gadget that seemed to be exactly what I had thought of months before.
Now someone else had actually developed that idea, and was selling it. They've developed and marketed this item, and are now obviously getting wealthy from the sales. And I'm left thinking, "I thought of that! It was my idea, and now this person is making all the money. Why can't I be that lucky, just once! Then, I'd be financially successful, and my worries would be over."
I know young people who read those Hollywood magazines that show off that famous movie star, that actor, or actress with the knock-out body, who seems to get paid huge money just for waking up and smiling every day! If you looked like that, you'd be rich too, wouldn't you! And a whole lot happier too!
How about that neighbor? You know, the one who inherited most of his money. If you'd had an inheritance like that you'd have sure been wiser than he with it. Still he has pretty much everything he wants. If someone had helped you get started like that, so you had something to invest, you'd have made a bundle on the stock market too, wouldn't you?
But here you are with your 40 hour-a-week J.O.B. Of course you're not as happy as he! How could you be, under your circumstances! It's quite obvious that money really does buy happiness.
Why is success so elusive to the Christian? Does God hate people with lots of money? Is money really the root of all evil? How can a Christian be successful in today's world, and is it even something to be desired?
Tell those who are rich in this world's wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they'll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life. I Timothy 6:17-19 (The Message)
Here we see Paul instructing Timothy to tell those in Ephesus who have wealth not to flaunt it. By flaunting it, he knew they would be inclined to think more of it than they should. They could easily reach a point where the wealth game became more important to them than God.
Because he understood human nature, Paul recognized that an arrogant person with money had great potential for creating jealousy and disharmony among their fellow believers, and diverting their attention from God, to the challenge of accumulating wealth. Instead of harmonious love and cooperation in the church, there would be a jealous contest to outdo one another.
God provides everything for our enjoyment. If you are placing your hope in something temporary and fleeting, you will be disappointed when it's gone. But if we merely accept wealth as a momentary measure of enjoyment from God, when it's gone, we won't be disconcerted by it's absence.
It'll be like a pleasant walk in the park. We'll enjoy it while we're doing it, remember it when it's over, and make plans to do it again when the time is right, and conditions are pleasant. But we don't go home weeping and lamenting the fact that the walk is over, or become depressed about going home or moving on to other things.
This is how we are to view wealth. It's a moment of pleasure that God has provided, a mere respite from other aspects of life. But it is not something to hold onto as though our very life depended on it.
Then Paul gives instructions about what to do with our money. We're first of all to be good, and to do good deeds. But what's that got to do with wealth? The instruction to be generous and willing to share follows that statement. Obviously, if we're not treating others in a good way, being a friend, helping where needed, building a trust relationship, how will we ever be generous?
Can you cheerfully give to someone you don't like, or who doesn't like you? Not likely! And would it even be accepted? Who will you be generous to, who will you share with, if you're not being good, doing good deeds!
True happiness and true success for the Christian is found by following the commandment to put our hope in God. If we wake up every morning of our life with our hopes and dreams for today built around our God, instead of setting out to become successful by the world's standards, and we set out to build a relationship with God the father, this is true success. This is the only true success that exists in the Christian's world.
Wealth is fleeting. Here today, gone tomorrow. Recent events surrounding the World Trade Center and Wall street have demonstrated the fallacy of trusting in your stock portfolio to guarantee your life and your happiness.
How do we experience success as a Christian?
Walk humbly with YOUR GOD.
This is true success!
Jan Wallen is the owner of http://www.StraightPaths.com/ a site dedicated to helping Christian business people conduct their businesses based on Christian principles. Her free bi-monthly newsletter, the Straight Paths Ezine, is filled with sensible, practical advice to help you in the work place. Subscriptions are available by visiting her website or you may send a blank e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
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