If I Were a Rich Man

If I were a rich man….

No, I’m not going to break into a musical number, but it’s an interesting hypothetical.  Of course, by most of the world’s standard, I am rich (along with a lot of other Americans).  By our standards, I’m middle class.  I have nothing to complain about.

Except…

If I were a rich man, I’d love to have more money to help more people with more problems in more places.  There is so little that I personally could want money for.  I have a home.  A good family.  A job I (usually) enjoy.

But the one thing that always nags at me is the desire to be able to help more people.  I realize that throwing money at a problem is really no solution.  But providing resources for others with skills and opportunities to fix the problems is essential to progress and success against many of life’s formidable challenges.  Like providing clean water and sanitation to desperately poor people so they can experience better health, work less to get the necessities, and have more opportunities for education, training, which will lead to building a better economic future.

When did I develop this desire?  I suppose there has always been something there telling me that this is the right thing to do.  But as I have grown older, and perhaps a little wiser, I have become more sensitive to suffering.  I want to be able to alleviate that in some way.

The Bible is loaded with instructions to help others.  There are specific statements like the one in Romans 12.6-8:

“6  Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7  if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching;  8  the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”

That passage specifically demonstrates that there are gifts associated with actions.  With respect to “contributing,” the question may be posed as to whether the gift is in the wealth itself or in the generosity.  I would answer that two pronged question with “Yes.”  If one is so gifted as to have a significant store of wealth that is a gift.  If one is so concerned with seeing to the needs of others, that is a gift of discernment and selflessness.

Money is of no value if it is not used.  Stored away in a bank, it gathers precious little interest.  Given in service to others, it reaps tremendous gains.

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