Last night, someone in California won a record-breaking $1.5 billion (that’s with a b, folks) lottery jackpot, which I first heard started hearing about when it was only at a measly $900 million. As could have been expected, the chance to make it big slowly started creeping into people’s conversations and Facebook feeds (most notably, through an encouraging but not very mathematically valid meme where we all end up millionaires). Naturally, any conversation on the topic turns to the “What would you do?” How would you spend the money if you had more money than you knew how to spend?
There’s a lot of typical answers out there. Houses, cars, travel, education. (I’m pretty sure I would own a villa somewhere in Tuscany.) But once those ideas run out, it generally turns to who and how you could help. The homeless. The abused. The refugees. The orphans. The hungry. And on and on and on and on and…
Just imagine all the good you could do in the world if only you had those resources available. All the people you could help. If only.
And eventually the whole daydream bubble burst and Oxford, the mansions, jets, and Ferraris are forgotten, and along with them our visions of showing true religion to the world.
After all, I’m not a billionaire.
After all, I’m doing the best I can.
After all, it’s hard enough to take care of my own life.
Listen (or read, if we’re going to be literal here), there are things that some people are capable of that others aren’t. JK Rowling lost her billionaire status several years ago because she donated so much of her boy wizard wealth. That’s not really an option for me. And nobody writes headlines for losing your hundredaire status anyway. There are works and charities that I would love to give millions of dollars to. I can’t. Chances are, neither can you.
And that’s ok. There’s no guilt in not giving what you don’t have. That’s not what concerns me. What concerns me is when we don’t give what we do have. When we don’t try at all.
It concerns me when we, when I, view God-given gifts – money, ability, talents, situations – as things meant solely for our own benefit. As if God gave them to us so we could better our own situation while millions of others remain unfed, unsheltered, and lost.
It concerns me when we, when I, think about how we could help and settle for “if only”. As if our goals of “helping the widows and orphans in their affliction” (James 1:27) are as lofty and unattainable as buying a Porsche and eating a $25,000 gold-infused frozen hot chocolate (Just me then? Ok.)
There’s a reason that after talking to the rich young man, Jesus says that wealth makes it harder to get to Heaven. The more you have, the more you want and it’s far too easy to put your own well-being ahead of others. Having more doesn’t make it easier to give more. Some of the most generous people I’ve ever known have been those with the least to give. Some of the most stingy have been those who seem to have plenty to share.
It isn’t about what you have. It’s about what you do with it.
And that’s the moral of this whole thing. Do SOMEthing. You have something to give. We all do. It might be money. It might not (although if we’re honest with ourselves, we can generally spare more than we’re willing). It might be an ability. It might be time. It might be all of the above. The things God has given you aren’t for you – they are meant to be used to bring others to Him.
You might not be able to change the entire world, but don’t let that discourage you from changing a part of it. You change your part, I’ll change mine, and we give God the credit and glory for it all and when we do that, the whole world can be changed.
It’s not how much you have. It’s not what you could or would do if you only had the resources. It’s about how much you’re willing to do with what God has given you. How much you’re willing to share of the blessings you’ve received.
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
There are a lot of great works out there, but here are a few groups that would appreciate your help today: