Wealth

ChickenSomebody just stumbled into a chicken-and-egg situation. And I’m not talking about foxes in the henhouse.  This is more of the “What came first?” variety. And the answer to that proverbial question has profound implications for your life.

Here’s the back story…

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently published a report outlining how the average American spends his or her money.  Assuming you’re average, you spend a third of your income on housing, 17% on transportation, 13% on food, 11% on insurance, and 7% on healthcare. Entertainment lags back at 5% and the average American gives 4% to churches or charities. Interesting, there was no mention of debt service, at least in the report I read.

Of course, who’s average, right? So Derek Thompson of The Atlantic did some more figuring.  He split up income categories into quintiles – the top 20%, the bottom 20%, and the three in the middle. He then compared how the top fifth spend their money proportionally, compared to the bottom fifth.

Would it come as a shock that there is a difference? [click to continue…]

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Flying moneyEver try one of those teachable moments with your kids that gets turned back on you? As in, Who’s teaching whom?

Twenty or so years ago, we were living in West Alabama and I took Cassie, about age 9, to the local shopping center (translation: Walmart).  It was just before Easter.  We didn’t find whatever it was we were looking for, so we left past the customer service counter.

“Daddy,” she whispered.  “Look… those people are poor!

I looked.

“Those people” were a middle-aged married couple, standing at the customer service desk. They were very humbly dressed, to be sure. And they had all the individual parts to make their own Easter baskets – apparently not able to afford the prepackaged wonders that were for sale in the back.

Ah, Fatherhood! The opportunities we have to engage with our children at teachable moments to give them perspective, wisdom, and character.  This was certainly one of them, and a donned my SuperDad cape. [click to continue…]

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Isn’t it rich?
Are we a pair?
Me here at last on the ground,
You in mid-air.
Send in the clowns.

Isn’t it bliss?
Don’t you approve?
One who keeps tearing around,
One who can’t move.
Where are the clowns?
Send in the clowns.
-from “Send in the Clowns”

No, that’s not the theme song to the next installment of the U.S. Congress.  Then again…

Yesterday I introduced you to a group of Christ followers who were living in a world of mirrors.  The good people of Laodicea were living with the bling, but God had a different estimate of their true wealth.  And in His correction, He revealed some things about a completely different economy that is in operation all around us.  For review, here are the principles we looked at yesterday:

Principle #1:  The root nature of sin is a declaration of independence from God.

Principle #2:  God has a system of economy unlike the world’s system.

Principle #3:  “Economy” is the exchange of all the commodities of life.

Principle #4:  Money has a unique place in the commodities of life.

Principle #5:  It is possible to be rich in the world’s economy and bankrupt in God’s.

So here the scenery changes, and God has some encouraging things to say to His loveable losers: [click to continue…]

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It was the Beverly Hills of ancient Asia.  A center of wealth and high-end commerce.  A medical haven, where people came from miles around for treatment of various ailments.  If you wrote your mama and told her your job was transferring you there, she’d have something to brag about the next day.  This was some place.  And there was a church in town.

How would you like to get a personal letter from Jesus Christ, where the first thing he said was, “I know what you’ve been doing”?  That can be a little unnerving!  But that’s exactly what Jesus said to the First Church of Coolville, alias Laodicea.  He had a few other things to say as well.  Let’s peek at their mail:

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see (Revelation 3:15-18).

Looks like the guys and dolls in Lala Land had a few things to learn about wealth.

So do we.

They thought they were loaded; Jesus said otherwise.  Remember, though, that in spite of its scathing message, this was a love letter.  And in his love, Jesus gave them, and LifeVestors everywhere, a few pointers on His economy. [click to continue…]

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