According to Forbes magazine, Bill Gates reclaimed his #1 ranking as the richest man in the world. He’s worth a reportedly $72.7 billion dollars! If Bill Gates were a country, he would be the 37th wealthiest country on earth. If he lives to be 90 years old, he needs to spend $6 million dollars a day to exhaust his wealth. How do you spend that much money daily? If he gave everyone on earth $10, he would still be worth $2.6 billion. He has also given away about $28 billion to eradicate childhood diseases in third world countries.
So, why do I share this opening paragraph? Because even though in a worldly sense it sounds impressive, his wealth and generosity, when compared to the wealth and riches of God, makes him a pauper. Everything he is and has was created by God, and all of his life—and ours—is sustained by, gifted by, and held together by the generosity of God.
“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”—Colossians 1:16-17
This perfect picture of the generosity of God oftentimes collides with the default position of our hearts: complaining about what we don’t have or think we deserve versus what He has already generously lavished upon us (Eph.1:7; 1 Pet.1:3-4).
As I learn to pursue a simpler and surrendered life, I see how I have been conditioned to behave like everyone else and take good things (career success, love, family, material possessions, etc.) and make them idols in my heart; unknowingly thinking that they can give me significance and security, safety and fulfillment, is a lie. It’s a societal sickness and one of misplaced priorities that can only be healed by a heart transformed by Christ that daily seeks Him. So, I will share with you the questions I ask myself and seek to make a habit of:
- Do I own anything that I would not be willing to part with if God were to take it from me or ask me to give it to another?
- Do I give generously, sacrificially, and gladly give to the Lord’s work and to others in need?
- Am I a wise steward of the material resources God has entrusted to me?
- Do I view God as my provider and the source of all my material possessions?
- Do I give my tithes and offerings to the Lord before I pay my bills or spend my income?
- Am I content with the material resources God has given me?
As we wrestle with this issue in our lives, let us keep the eternal perspective that will always take us back to our true mission and purpose on this earth: to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
Kimberly Allen serves as the Children’s Ministry Director and Ministry Administrator. She is the mother of two adult children.