Mr. or Mrs. Moneybags. Let’s be honest, we want to be like them. To have their money, and to have their stuff. It is the American dream: want more, make more, spend more and to have more. We’ve been told that climbing the ladder of success, hitting it big and getting rich is what life is all about. But what if being rich was irrelevant because we are already rich. How would that change the way we live, the way we spend and the way we give? As we have been talking about the last few weeks, it is not about getting rich and making more, its about being rich and making a difference.
People have always been first and foremost interested in making a good living, but today things are different. Peter Gomes, former minister to the students at Harvard University noted that students are asking a more challenging question today. “What will it take for me to make a good life, and not merely a good living?”
So, what will it take to make a good life?
More and more people equate the quality of their life by the size of their bank accounts. But the Bible talks about our wealth existing in what we do. We need to be rich in deeds and actions, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6:10)
Making a good life is more than money. It is all of the elements that contribute to the makeup of our life: our talents, time, helping hands, laughter, genuine smiles, know-how, encouragement, listening ability, a cup of coffee, our caring, our giving of ourselves, comfort in times of grief, and so on. Most of these things cost nothing, but pay rich dividends. “This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.” Matthew 10:42 (MSG)
Being rich in good deeds requires a different mind-set. It focuses on the needs of others instead of its own sense of accomplishment or worth. It’s posture is that of a “servant.” It approaches the needs of others with a “whatever it takes” attitude instead of a calculating assessment of whether or not there is value or a return in my investment if I do this. It does not keep a running total or have a finish line when I believe I have done my fair share.
Being good at being rich means we need to be intentional about doing good deeds. In this way, we grab hold of the life that is truly life. It’s not about justification, or getting God to love us more. It is living the way God intended so that we can be rich in deeds.
1. How do you measure your life?
2. Would you rate your life as a good life? What does it mean to be rich in the eyes of God?
3. Define “success” in your own words. What are some of the different ways that our culture defines success? What does it mean to you to be successful?
4. How can you be rich in good deeds? How can you make a difference?