Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Measuring our wealth by the world's standards or by God's (1 Timothy 6:17) with some help from a list shared by Steve Williams.

SCRIPTURE: 1 Timothy 6:17 (TM)
Tell those 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

STORY as shared by Steve Williams:
From the standpoint of material wealth, Americans have difficulty realizing how rich we are. Going through a little mental exercise suggested by Robert Heilbroner can help us to count our blessings, however. Imagine doing the following, and you will see how daily life is for as many as a billion people in the world.
1. Take out all the furniture in your home except for one table and a couple of chairs. Use blanket and pads for beds.
2. Take away all of your clothing except for your oldest dress or suit, shirt or blouse. Leave only one pair of shoes.
3. Empty the pantry and the refrigerator except for a small bag of flour, some sugar and salt, a few potatoes, some onions, and a dish of dried beans.
4. Dismantle the bathroom, shut off the running water, and remove all the electrical wiring in your house.
5. Take away the house itself and move the family into the tool shed.
6. Place your "house' in a shantytown.
7. Cancel all subscriptions to newspapers, magazines, and book clubs. This is no great loss because now none of you can read anyway.
8. Leave only one radio for the whole shantytown.
9. Move the nearest hospital or clinic ten miles away and put a midwife in charge instead of a doctor.
10. Throw away your bankbooks, stock certificates, pension plans, and insurance policies. Leave the family a cash hoard of ten dollars.
11. Give the head of the family a few acres to cultivate on which he can raise a few hundred dollars of cash crops, of which one third will go to the landlord and one tenth to the money lenders.
12. Lop off twenty-five or more years in life expectancy.
By comparison how rich we are! And with our wealth comes responsibility to use it wisely, not to be wasteful, and to help others. Think on these things. 
How do we measure wealth? Is it based on our bank account? The size of our home? The type of car(s) parked in the driveway? The neighborhood we live in? The number of clubs we belong to? How do we measure our wealth?

Steve Williams list should bring us back into the reality of the real world. We lose perspective and our value system is the victim. More becomes the standard for our lifestyle.

It is no secret that I love Starbucks or as my son-in-love likes to refer to it as “4-bucks” ... but he does treat us both to a large cup when we are out and about. I will admit that I treat myself to a cup of their flavored-skinny latte about once a week … after all, I reason, I’ve “earned” that luxury … but have I really? Walking into my local store recently I had to pass a homeless person and I paused to ponder the imbalance in our society.

We have so much … too much. We are America and we deserve it … or so our thinking goes. And yet, on the streets of our great cities are countless numbers of homeless and needy people. They exist at the very thresholds of our institutions of luxury. It is often heard, as recently posted by a friend on Facebook, “they should get up and find a job.” From personal experience in working with the homeless many of them are veterans and most of them are not mentally capable of holding even a “bush-the-broom” kind of job. It is a sad commentary on our wealthy society that we allow fellow citizens to exist. There, but for the grace of God … and some good fortune … go I!

We can have all the wealth our society can afford us and if we don’t have God we are poor. We can possess the world’s riches and if we don’t have God we are the most to be pitied. We can more than anyone else and be able to afford expensive cups of coffee several times a day and if we don’t have God our souls will be empty. We can have it all … and have nothing.

How do we measure our wealthy?

Lord, make us sensitive to all those around us. Help us to understand that real wealth comes only in a relationship with you. And, then, make us sensitive to those around us so that we can use what we have for others.

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