A Word to the Rich

by Erin Bird

Hope you are doing fantastic on this Thursday (or whichever day you are reading this). If you’ve read the past few blog posts, we have been doing a series from Exodus 34:6-7 entitled God’s Bio. While we are only half-way through that series, we are going to take a six-week break to shift gears for our upcoming generosity series.

As you have hopefully heard, we kick off a generosity campaign this coming Sunday. The goal of the campaign isn’t to just get more money from you, nor is it to fill your head with a bunch of biblical ideas. Rather, the goal of the series is to help you see what God wants for you by helping you grow in generosity in all areas of life. (In Riverwood-speak, we want to help you open up your FIST (Finances, Influence, Skills, and Time) in even more Christ-honoring ways.)

Here is what the generosity campaign will look like:

  • On Sundays, we’ll study 2 Corinthians 9 understanding How to Give.
  • We also encourage you to take this topic deeper through 40 days of personal study and reflection through the devotional booklets you can pick up in the lobby or download from your phone’s app store (search for givewithjoy(one word, no spaces)).
  • And lastly, here in the weekly email, we will do a companion series called How to be Rich which will be a six-week study of 1 Timothy 6:17-19. The goal of this series will be to help all of us understand even more of the Scripture’s teaching on the topic of generosity.

So to kick us off, let’s read our key passage for this How to be Rich series:

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

Who are the Rich?

If you are like me, you don’t see yourself as “rich.” After all, the late Robin Leach would probably never have called you to be a guest on his show, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. So because you don’t see yourself as rich, let me help you understand who the rich are and the type of life they live.

Rich people…

  • not only own a car and can afford to put gasoline in it, but oftentimes they own more than one vehicle.
  • not only live in a house, but they often have a spare bedroom ready for guests.
  • have a special house for their cars called a “garage.”
  • have a job where they are paid more than the world average of $8,500 per year.
  • often have art like paintings, photographs, and such on their walls. (They also have books on shelves, many of which simply serve as decorations.)
  • have spare money that allows them to own domesticated animals.
  • have so much stuff they can’t fit it all in their house, so they build sheds or rent a storage unit to hold their possessions.
  • (and possibly most amazing of all) have rooms called “pantries” that are simply used for food storage. (They also own an appliance called a “refrigerator” that also stores food, but at cooler temperatures, which reduces the spoilage of food.)

You are the Rich!

A Word to the RichNow, after reading that list, you might be shocked. But I suspect you aren’t shocked at the way rich people live. Rather, you are probably shocked to rrealize that by global standards, YOU are rich.

Truly, you are richer than you realize. Which means, the Apostle Paul’s first phrase in our key passage (“as for the rich”) pertains to you.

This is why we are going to take six weeks to contemplate the call to generosity Paul wrote in these three verses. My hope is that you will see that generosity isn’t just about giving money, but about your life – your approach, your perception, and your attitude. And I hope you will also see that the generous life is truly a joyous life.