The Priority of Being Rich in God By Wes Willmer and Micah Hogan
How do we give priority to being rich toward God?
It’s a bit of an understatement to say that COVID-19 has called our priorities and the priority into question. People all over the world have had to re-evaluate how they can best utilize a significantly decreased arsenal of time and resources. In times like ours of economic scarcity and mass anxiety, we are invited to ask ourselves what really matters to us.
It’s tempting to let the challenges of COVID-19 turn us inward toward exclusively focusing on our own concerns. When we are scared, we tend to develop a scarcity mentality that looks only to our own interests. We hoard time, energy, and toilet paper just in case we may one day need it.
A Higher Call
This is all only natural, but particularly those of us seeking to be steward leaders should realize that the Gospel calls us to something more—a higher calling?
In Luke 12:13-21 Jesus tells a parable about a rich fool. The rich man finds that his fields have produced plentifully, and so he decides to tear down his barns and build bigger ones. Then he says to his soul,
“Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry” (Luke 12:19).
This is the natural attitude, this is the way of things. We focus on meeting our own needs, and then we sit back and relax like the rich man. But then the unthinkable happens in Jesus’s parable, the thing that the rich man never expected: God speaks.
“Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” (Luke 12:20).
For all the rich man’s earthly comfort and security, he could not secure himself against the ultimate, against his death and his duty toward God. Jesus’s concluding words to the parable are sobering and relevant to us. Just as the rich man is a fool,
“so is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:21).
Harder and Higher
It’s only natural for us to want to conserve our resources in times of emergency, but God calls us as steward leaders to something much harder and much higher. God calls us to something supernatural. He calls us to be rich toward Him. Our resources are on loan to us not so that we can please ourselves or secure ourselves against calamity, but so that we can steward them for the glory of God. The stuff we are given is really a tool for evangelism and mission. Just think: what sort of message might it send to an unbelieving and fearful world if you continue or even increase your giving to your local church? What sort of message might Christians send if we develop the reputation for being lavish givers and wise stewards even in a time of crisis?
The fact of the matter is this: when Christians are rich toward God, we show the world how God has been rich toward us. We proclaim our faith with our finances. So let us all use this time to set our priorities straight. Let us give priority to being rich toward God.
Wesley K. Willmer, Ph.D. CCNL and Micah Hogan have recently published Stuff and Soul: Mastering the Critical Connection, where they have explored this topic further. You can find it here on Amazon.
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