How much is enough? Let’s discuss for just a few minutes what your perception of what a Christian should own of the world’s offerings, and the amount of pleasure he should take from these items. Do you think it wrong that some have so much that it would be nearly impossible for them to spend it all in their lifetime, or do you feel joy and happiness for them, is jealousy a part of your nature toward these brothers and sisters in Christ?
It is of course the Lords decision who will have and who will have not, Solomon was rich beyond many who call themselves billionaires today, and the poor widow woman gave all that she had left, both are in the kingdom of heaven, in my humble opinion. “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” (Luke 16:10) We must climb the ladder of responsibility, as it were, before the Lord shows us that we can be dependable with the financial riches that he has chosen for them that have them, and although He has known who we were before the foundation of the world, I think that each one of us holds within our hearts the possibility of sin that we rarely think of in this area.
There is a bitterness within us that is part of our sinful nature, it goes beyond covetousness, and becomes resentment, and if we are not careful it can become discontentment towards our Lord. The wise steward understands that if she has one dress and one pair of shoes, they are to be taken care of, no different than the one that has several million dollars, these items are not theirs, they are the Lords, all is the Lords, “The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” (Psalm 24:1) So then why would he bless one with little and one with much? Because He wants to.
The topic of this letter to you is this then, are you upset with those that the Lord has blessed with much, because if you are, you are upset with Him, for He has determined who will have and who will have not. Those who have this difficulty are in a sense like those in Ecclesiastes 5:10, “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.” Whether some want to admit it to themselves or not, there are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ that an increase exponentially in their financial wherewithal would be detrimental to their walk with the Lord, they would never be satisfied. Although they would disagree vehemently with you on this observation, the Lord looks on the heart of man, (1st Sam. 16:7) these would always be looking over at the next guy, the one who has just a little bit more, everyone that they love would need to be taken care of, all their wants met, no matter the circumstances of their own lives at that moment. They would have all and more than they need, and it would never be enough.
There are those also that fall into this same category, the only difference is that they would spend all on themselves and others, and then complain because it was all gone, and probably find themselves in debt on top of that. They would be unable to exert any self-control over such enormous finances, and ruin would be the result, not only of their worldly riches, but of their spiritual walk with the Lord. They would have given an opportunity for the lost to blaspheme the Name of the Lord by their misappropriation of the blessings that He had laid upon them. Look at how King Solomon’s life ended.
Then of course there is the other side of the coin, as it were, those who believe that it is sinful for us to have anything in the world beyond that which we absolutely need, these see self-imposed poverty as the way of the Christian. They see all of those who have been blessed by Christ with great worldly riches as not truly saved, no matter how many good deeds they accomplish with these finances, or in their own subtle way, they will believe themselves to be closer, as it were, to the Lord because they would consider their poverty as proof of a closer relationship to Him. In a reverse psychology sort of way, they see themselves as more deserving of these financial blessings, yet better off because they do not have them. To be blessed with these great riches of the world is a desire, but they will not admit it to themselves, for it would seem unseemly, out of place if you will, and for these types of individuals that is more than likely true. The main verse they would quote would be Matthew 6:24, presupposing within themselves that these individuals that our Lord has blessed with worldly financial good are indeed trying to serve two masters when nothing could be further from the truth.
Along with our opening statement of how much is enough, another must be added to our conversation, how much is not enough. Many who have determined that they either do not deserve the blessings of money, or see it as only a trap of Satan would answer this question with whatever the Lord has blessed me with, it is enough, and I would sincerely hope that this statement from them would be given in truth. Far too many times though these types of utterances disclose a hidden discontentment within themselves, they want but refuse to admit it. Some may even have to a degree more than many others, but are afraid to spend it, thinking that it could be used in a better way than on themselves. This is in itself a type of self-serving attitude in this area, for it declares that they are above those whom they would help, and if it were possible, they would assist all, yet since they cannot, they help none. If they had more, they would give no more than what they are already giving.
How much is enough, how much is not enough, and of course the last statement must be how much is too much. There are those that we have mentioned that will have a ready answer for this last one, more that you need is too much. I have always found it interesting that these do not seem to be willing to live on bread and water, but they deplore those who seem to have much more that what they would consider an abundance above and beyond what twenty people would ever need. They are covetous in reverse, as it were, they do not believe themselves worthy, if you will, of the blessings of financial riches in this world, but no one else should be either. These do not understand that those who more firmly apply the wisdom blessed upon them by God in 1st Timothy 6:10 have no love for this money, all belongs to the Lord. They would continue to serve Him whether they had little or much, the money is immaterial, it is just another tool that they can use to further the kingdom of God, and one that they have been held accountable for by Him and for His glory.
When you hear on a Christian radio station that all donations for that week or month will be doubled, or even tripled, who do you think is doing that? When you see that a thousand Bibles have been donated, a new addition is being added to a church, where do you think this money comes from? There are those who have proven to the Lord that they can handle small sums of money, they have shown that they can be faithful in a little, and so they have been blessed with more, remember Luke 16:10? God does not just hand anyone treasures, whether they are spiritual or material. We are to study to show ourselves approved, (2nd Tim. 2:15) when we have done so, and continue to do so, we are blessed with the knowledge and wisdom of God, thru prayer and diligent study we become approved, and then are blessed with more responsibility. The same goes for our financial management, when we have proven that we are in control and have been found to be trustworthy of the Lords money, then we will be blessed with more.
Do not look upon this as a given though, He may decide to allow you to become impoverished, to allow you to see a part of you that you perhaps have not recognized yet, remember Job, a life of wealth, and then all taken from him. This is all at the discretion of our Lord, as all the lives of His obedient servants are to be, it is one thing to quote Philippians 4:11-12, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need,” and quite another to have to live this example.
I have always had a roof over my head, sometimes it was a tent, sometimes a five-bedroom house, but always within me was the knowledge that that roof was provided by the Lord. Those He has chosen to be rich in the world’s money, which is actually His in the first place, and those He has chosen to be poor are to do the same thing, serve, serve without question and without complaint, perform the duties that have been entrusted to you with what He has given you to do them with. “The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” (Psalm 24:1) He will give to whom He wants, and He will withhold from whom He wants, and we will rejoice in Him no matter which of these He has chosen for us to be.