I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13
If you won the lottery or were given 5 million dollars, what would you do differently? How about if you ended up with an extra $5,000, what difference would that make in your life? How about if you have an extra $50 in your pocket now, what do you do with that? When I was a kid and before I worked much, I thought $50 was a lot of money, then $500 was a lot, then $5,000, etc. There was always a bigger amount I could earn or save or strive for, and still is. There are people ½ my age that have a net worth 10x or 100x what I have accumulated in my life, but is that the measure we should be using. How about how much money or time or energy we have given to worthy causes and to help others, do people ever keep track of those things? I had a conversation in a small group this past week about we often find that those who have the least money are often the most generous with it toward others – part of the reason they don’t often have much. When all is said and done, would you rather be know for how much you have or how much you have done with what you have?
I find that people are often sensitive and very guarded when they talk about money, how much they have, or where they spend it, etc. They may feel judged, especially by those close to them about their ability to earn it, manage it, save it, give it, care about it or not. Who do you trust for advice when it comes to what you have? I have always liked what Paul had to say in these verses. It is more a question of your attitude and plan with what you have than the amount of what you have. Have you ever had to ask for help, either financially or physically or any other way? Most of us want to be self-sufficient and never want or need to seek help if we don’t have to. When you do, it humbles you. Should this not be our same attitude toward God? How often do we go to him in need? The more we do, the more we trust Him to be faithful to us. If we never ask for help, we will never appreciate what we have, and grow in our ability to manage it. When we manage the assets and well-being of others, we grow much more in our responsibility, as others trust us. Whether we feel we are in need or have plenty, our attitudes towards what we have should be the same, just as Paul stated.
If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. Luke 16:10
Do you have a retirement plan? What is your dream for what you will do when you are ‘sufficient’ enough to not have to work, or not able to work anymore? I made a comment a while back about having more to do in a day that I am capable of doing, and am not lacking for things to put on my ‘to do’ list. That may change as I age, but I find there is always something to do, what that is or whether I should or not is the bigger question. So, whether now or in retirement, we each need to ask whether the things we are doing are worthwhile for us or anyone else, in the long term. We can spend our whole lives trying to accumulate money or things and it doesn’t take long for all that to disappear, whether we have anything to do with it or not. I’m sure you have heard stories of squandered wealth from a variety of reasons. How much would you have to trust someone to put them in charge of everything you have? Each of us need to learn to be faithful with what little we have if we are to be trusted with anything more. Honestly, none of it is ours anyway, even what we think we have one day will be gone. So, put your trust in things that will last, and use what is given to you to make a difference in this life and the next.
Yours in Christ,