People who have a job talk about how they are blessed.
People who make a lot of money talk about how they are blessed.
People who can provide for the needs of their kids talk about how they are blessed.
As Christians we must always recognize the double edged sword when it comes to making money, having an income, and being blessed.
All these things have the potential to be either a blessing and/or a burden.
A burden? In this economy, is an income really a burden?
I mean burden in the sense that in many ways you have more responsibilities to carry when you prosper financially. This is even more of a burden when others around us are suffering with job loss and other financial concerns.
God blesses us so that, in addition to meeting our family needs, we will help with the needs of others (1 Cor. 9:11).
Randy Alcorn writes,
When God provides more money we often think, This is a blessing. Yes, but it would be just as scriptural to say, “This is a test.”
As a teacher, I often wince when I read James reminding Christians that not many of them should be teachers (James 3:1). I’ve always considered that passage to insinuate that God grades on a curve.
To a person with more knowledge, understanding, and experience, more will be expected.
In fact, isn’t that the point of the Parable of the Talents (Mt. 25:14-30)?
Whoever is responsible with little will be given more responsibilities. Those responsibilities can be both a blessing and a burden.
I find it interesting that in the book of Job Satan is complaining to God because he assumes God blesses Job to bribe his obedience. If he didn’t have all this stuff, he’d walk away, so says Satan.
Then there are stories like the Rich Fool (who kept building barns) and the Rich Ruler (who wouldn’t give it away to follow Jesus) where wealth was the tool that lead people away from God.
How can wealth be a tool to draw us near to God and a tool to draw us away from God? This happens when we forget that it is both a blessing and a burden.
The Yard Sale Illustration
I had a yard sale this week. A friend asked if I’d be willing to sell some of his things as well.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that he wanted me to price everything.
That was a tremendous burden. How much should I sell this for? What if it’s too high and I end up taking most of his stuff back? What if I price it too low and he doesn’t make any money?
What about the burden of being a steward on behalf of God?
- What should I do with this income?
- How much should be used for my luxury spending?
- How much should I give?
- How much salary should I take out of God’s blessing to myself?
Romans 1:18 reminds us that sometimes God ‘gives us over’ or ‘hands us over’ to our cravings. Not for a blessing, but to allow our selfishness and crudeness to give us enough pain that we might consider returning to him.
If you have an income and don’t associate any responsibility or burden to it, then I’d encourage you to prayerfully consider seeing blessings as both a blessing and a burden.
The next time you get paid, in addition to saying thank you to God, pray to ask God to help you see the tremendous responsibility you just assumed.
How do you remind yourself of the blessing and burden of wealth?