Oh, to Be Rich?
Do you consider yourself to hold “riches” or desire to do so? Being “rich” with money or wealth may not be all it’s cracked up to be, for much research has concluded that the “rich” or people with money to spare often have thinking and behaviors that aren’t so great. There is, of course, always exceptions to the rule and certainly not a blanket statement, but psychologists who study the impact of wealth on human behavior conclude that money powerfully influences not only our thoughts but also our actions. It appears we need to carefully consider the rich and deep responsibility to utilize the privilege of riches properly.
Research shows strong evidence that people with more money often have less empathy towards others. Those that hold fewer resources appear to hold greater emotional intelligence. One study even showed that when “fake” money was involved bad behaviors revealed themselves. This particular study involved observing people playing Monopoly and that initially the wealthier player tended to be uncomfortable with their winnings but as the game went on that player became more aggressive even ridiculing and jeering their opponent with lesser wins.
Riches have also shown to adversely affect moral judgment, hold links to addiction, and most certainly money can’t purchase the richness of life that is ultimately sought. The trouble with wealth and money is not a new issue. The Apostle Paul makes clear in his letters, the issues that money can possibly hold and how to avoid them. He knew that those who hold “riches” also hold a great responsibility.
Living Frugally with a Fortune
When we have more than we need it is important that we use the excess generously and to do good works sharing with a willing heart. This type of generosity is the life that Robert Arthington lived. Arthington was an investor and philanthropist and grew up as the wealthy son of a brewery owner from whom he inherited his fortune. Yet, he recognized the importance of being generous and gave away a tremendous amount of money during his lifetime. Not only did he generously share his wealth he determinedly lived a frugal lifestyle.
Arthington lived in a single room, cooked his own meals, and shared his friendship with students that were in need. Most of his money was given away to Christian missions. When he died in 1900, his estate was worth about 5 million dollars, all of which he willed to missions. It wasn’t until after his death however, that it was discovered what prompted his miserly lifestyle. A letter was found in his belongings that he received from a missionary. It said, “Were I in England again, I would gladly live in one room, make the floor my bed, a box my chair, and another my table, rather than the heathen should perish for the lack of knowledge of Jesus Christ.” Robert Arthington lived his life determined to make that kind of self-denial the patterned example of his life as he shared his knowledge of Christ.
Responsibility and Generosity – A Perfect Pairing
Having riches might seem like an ideal way to live and certainly to those in need, it appears on the surface to be a grand lifestyle. However, with such riches, comes a great responsibility that depicts a life that is also rich in good works with great generosity and a willingness to share.
Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.1 Timothy 6:18 (NLT)
No matter how much money we may hold during our time on earth, our life, itself, should clearly demonstrate that God is in charge of the riches that He places in our care. We are to use what we are given for His Kingdom, for it is through faith, service, and obedience that we become rich in God.
It is important that we think carefully about our attitude towards money and possessions and not hold them tightly to ourselves or in a selfish manner. Instead, we should think about how we can use them to help others. Ultimately what we have is because God is entrusting us to use it wisely, for it is He that grants it. We must recognize that our trust must be placed not in our riches but fully in God who “richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.” (1 Timothy 6:17)
Where Life’s True Riches Are Held
Recognizing that the most important thing in our life is to know God is our ultimate goal. Once our full trust and faith are in Him then we are to work together in love to share not only what we have but what we know about God with others.
Won’t you take the challenge to trust in God and not in riches, using what you have to do good and steer away from selfish behavior? Find your conviction to remember that we are to be rich not in money but in good works and generosity. Be motivated in knowing that success in life isn’t how much money you have, but how much you allow God to control your riches. Surround yourself in the comfort of knowing that God is the most valuable thing you will ever hold and there is nothing in the heavens or earth that can take it away from you.
Love in Christ,
You do not have to be rich to be generous.Anonymous
What Are Your Thoughts?
Have you considered the rich responsibility that riches hold? Are you generous with your riches? Share your thoughts on the responsibility that money holds and the need to place your trust not in your riches but in God who provides it.
Credits Gregoire, C. (2018, February 8). Greater Good Magazine Science-Based Insights For A Meaningful Life How Money Changes the Way You Think and Feel. Retrieved from Greater Good Magazine UC Berkeley: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_money_changes_the_way_you_think_and_feel Stanley, B. (1987). Studies in Church History - 'The Miser of Headingley': Robert Arthington and the Baptist Missionary Society, 1877-1900. Retrieved from Cambridge University Press: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/studies-in-church-history/article/miser-of-headingley-robert-arthington-and-the-baptist-missionary-society-18771900/E2C433D1D335C1E7443DFF6FD0442CF2