Last evening on the news I heard that the top 5 wealthiest businessmen in Canada earned more before 10:00 o’clock in the morning of January 2nd, then the rest of us Canadians will earn the entire year!
This morning I was reading Luke 6 in the Bible. When I first began to read it, I was doing so because of the references to Yeshua and how he healed people and commissioned the disciples to go out and do the same thing. Scripture tells us that Yeshua said that not just the disciples but others would do what he did, and even greater.
But, what caught my eye, because of last night’s news about the Canadian CEO’s, was the words of Yeshua in what has come to be known as The Sermon on the Mount. Yeshua speaks words of comfort o people who may be having a rough time of it, struggling to make a living and support their families, etc.:
20 Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. 22 Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. 23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.
He then issues a warning to the people who seem to be living the life of luxury and comfort; the woes to the rich:
24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. 25 Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. 26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.
Faithful Stewards: Those Who Have Little
I need to make a confession. I lied when I said I do not want to be rich with the things this world has to offer. That is not the truth. I do want to be rich, maybe even filthy rich. Yes, I would like the comforts, but I also want to help a lot of people who need it. I have had, I have lost, I have been bankrupt (twice).
Scripture tells us to seek, etc. and that at times we have not because (my paraphrase)
“we seek to consume it upon ourselves.”
I have been a poor steward of what the Lord has given me. I have ignored the loving words of my own Dad about putting money away for a “rainy day.” I have not been faithful in the little that has been given to me, and Scripture does tell us about what happens. Recall the story of the farmer who hired some people to work and gave each certain amounts for their use. One guy buried it and another invested it wisely.
It is not just money. What about our talents, our gifts. I have failed in that arena as well. I have talents that I have failed to use, and the old saying of “use it or lose it,” will apply to anyone who does not use the gifts they have been given by the Creator.
Faithful Stewards: The Rich
I believe that the woes issued to the rich by Yeshua are with respect to those who have been blessed and who choose to satisfy their own lusts; not just their needs. They do not take what they have been blessed with to help those in need.
You and I know many very wealthy people who are constantly helping others with what they have: their talents and their money. They work to try and make this world a better place for all people, not just the few.
Yeshua says that the rich have:
- already received their comfort
- will go hungry
- will mourn and weep
- will not be thought of so highly as once they were
What Goes Around Comes Around
Have you ever noticed that it is quite often those with very little who give? It doesn’t matter what or how much, it is just the fact that they give. A person who has suffered from a dis-ease (including addictions) is often the first to comfort another who is going through the same illness. When someone else is hurting they seem to hurt just as much; they have empathy.
I have seen the rich express the same kind of empathy towards those who are hurting. Quite often these people have also suffered, gone through struggles and hard times before they reached this pinnacle of wealth. They have walked a mile in the other’s shoes; they have mourned, suffered, gone hungry and done without.
They have come full circle, gone from rags to riches and have not forgotten their humble beginnings.
It is not a bad thing to be rich. Money is not a bad thing. It is what the person does or does not do with that wealth that makes money good or bad. Money, like anything else, is just stuff; but, money is necessary to live.
Thoughts on the Woes to the Rich
I believe that what Yeshua meant wasn’t that the rich would be punished because they were rich. I believe that what Yeshua is saying is that when trouble does strike them, and trouble is striking all around us today, the woes will come to those who have always had it easy, who have never even attempted to walk a mile in another’s shoes, because:
they simply will not know what to do, where to go and how to survive when everything gets stripped away. They have been totally self-sufficient and without that, they will be at a loss and will be lost.
Vision – May 2001
In May 2001 I journalled a vision that I had. I was living in Toronto at the time and I thought the vision was about the Bay Street area of Toronto, often referred to as the Wall Street of Toronto. All the major banks and corporate office towers are located in this downtown area.
I saw men and women jumping out of windows in these office towers, high above the ground. I the glass from the windows shattering around the people as they jumped. I don’t recall hearing any screams or cries as the people jumped.
I thought it was Toronto and I thought it was because these people were devastated because the economy had collapsed and they had lost everything. It was like they felt with this loss of their money, they had nothing left to live for; they thought their lives were over.
But on September 11, 2001 (#9-11) I saw the exact same thing on the television as the terrorist attack took place and the second plane crashed into the Towers in New York City.
Comfort & Support Available for Everyone
Here in Canada everyone has the right to ask for help and receive it when they are in need. If a rich person loses everything and needs help they are not prevented by our laws from asking for the same help.
The only thing that would prevent someone who lost everything from getting the help they needed will be their pride and/or arrogance; thinking it is all beneath them.
Will they be able to set aside any pride and avail themselves of these things?
- Will they step into the office of social services?
- Will they ask the government for disability support?
- Will they go to a food bank?
- Will they knock on their neighbour’s door and ask for help?
- Will they call out to a God that is not them for help?
If you or I see someone who we once knew had everything, now struggling, will we reach out and offer to help them? Will we offer to help them especially if we once asked them for help and they refused and perhaps even laughed at the request?
Helping One Another
In Luke 6 Yeshua tells us how we are supposed to be, as brothers and sisters. It is without qualification as to whether rich or poor, race or nationality, religious affiliation. We are all brothers and sisters. If you believe the words of Genesis, we do, after all, descend from the same original parents, Adam and Eve. You can’t argue that one.
27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
What Will You Do With Your Wealth
I have often thought about what I will do with the wealth that I am receiving. One of the first things is a selfless move back home to Cape Breton. Doesn’t seem like much, but it is to me.
Once settled, I plan on commissioning the construction of a shelter for abused women and children. I am also praying about involvement in the possible construction of a recovery centre for women of all ages. I know there is a lack in both areas, and both are close to my heart.
What will you do when your life changes and you are in possession of enough money to do anything you want to do?
We have to start planning, because when it happens we need to be ready to start our projects.