First of all I don’t think its a sin to be rich!
Before going any further I need to highlight that “money is not the root of all evil”! And I might even add that “the love for money is not the root of all evil”! But its when we take anything and turn it into an ultimate thing then we can loose ourselves. I know plenty of people that are really good and and love making money. They like creating value in this world, taking something, that might not even have a lot of perceived value in the beginning, and improving upon it, to solve problems for other people. They like being “problem-solves” and “pain-killers”.
You are valuable,
even when you are not earning a lot
I like the Zig Zigglar quote “You can have anything you want, if you help enough other people get what they want”…as long as you understand how to capture part of that increased value. There are many people that invent amazing things that are never able to capture the added value (for example the mild-mannered oil engineer who unlocked the secret to making fracking work like it does today)
And there are a lot of professions that create a lot of value without ever being able to capture that value. For example teachers that influence students that then become valuable members of society. Or nurses, that often preserve valuable life and/or life quality. And then there are the often single mothers (lets face it, its more likely that the father ditches the responsibility than the mother) that do whatever it take to take the raw material of a child and instill in them values and teach them to become people of value. I know that I can never thank my mother enough for not giving up on me.
We are called to use our Talents,
and have them multiply.
The easiest way for me to illustrate that is by quoting scripture.
The Parable of the Talents
14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants[a]and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents,[b] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[c] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
So, Are you the 1%?
Many of my friends are part of the 1%. In fact you maybe are, or at least know people that are part of the 1%. In the USA the qualification to be part of the 1% is , in 2013, you needed a minimum household income of $389,436 to join the club. And worldwide, all you need is an income of around $34,000. Hmm, maybe you just realized that you are part of the 1%
We are called to cultivate our talents,
in order to serve others.
Again its easiest for me to quote a view few places in scripture:
And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:42-45
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. – John 13:12-15
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Matthew 7:21-23
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matthew 25:35-46
Now don’t get angry
I have now gotten used to, fellow Christians, getting very upset with me, like a 2 year old toddler that can’t get their way, whenever I touch on this subject. And I guess that in order to shield me against the blow-back I’m going to say that “I’m not saying that being and minimalist makes me better than other people. But it makes me a better version of myself and I’m just trying to live an authentic life based on my values”.
We have enough resources for everyone to live a basic, sustainable lifestyle!
I have been there myself
I didn’t have a lot when I grew up. And I was happy…until I started comparing myself with other people. That is when I started developing the disease called “MORE”. I became restless and unsatisfied with what I had because I wanted what other people had. And often interestingly other people later admitted to me that they wanted what I already had. Later I started getting more and more of what other people had. And for a split second I would experience bliss…until I started looking around me again and realized that there was more to be had. I eventually became so sick (I’m going to call this Sick because I really think its a disease. Dis-Ease, not being able to be at ease) that I leveraged all that I had access to to be able to buy more and more and more…and then there was the big correction. A.K.A. the market crash.
And in that chaos and pain I finally realized that I never needed any of those things. There was so much that I already had that I never even utilized or enjoyed. And now I’m living life pretty much as a poor person, compared to my friends, but I’m still richer than most people in the world, including some of them because I have found this immense freedom from finding another set of value system.
I’m going to have to continue with my ponderings later as I really want to get into what I consider the source of our disease and how more we can find a solution. I would love to start a dialogue with other people that are walking the same path and I welcome arguments from other people viewpoints, I really want to be able to understand the issues we are facing and I’m open to other ideas.