Money is an issue. Who has money. Who does not have money. Money causes conflicts and special treatment. Money often divides class and dictates our social standing. Married couples argue about money. In a recent article in the LA Times, Gina Rinehart suggests that those who want more should work harder. Since she is the richest woman in the world, it may be easier for her to offer that advice than someone who is struggling to get by. She seems to believe that the lack of wealth is due to wrong priorities or laziness. Sometimes this is accurate. Other times, people have twists, turns, and tragedies in their lives that hinder their earning potential. Those things that may hinder earning potential may also be blessings.
Consider a person who grows up in a low-income family. The priorities of the family are vastly different from the priorities of a wealthy or high income family. So, the person has to challenge the entire family. Also, maybe the family does not understand investing the way a wealthier family does.
Others are not born in poverty, but the twists and turns of their lives are financially costly. Maybe there is a job loss. That job loss ends up being a long unemployment. The job loss may have nothing to do with a person’s capabilities, but it may have everything to do with a company down-sizing. Maybe another person has to battle a long illness. The illness leaves the person unable to work for a season. The medical bills mount up. The person is off the career track.
Poverty is often the result of issues beyond an individual’s control. Income does not have to define us. Income does not have to create social divisions. But, it often does. In the book of James, we are warned about letting money divide us. Yet, it seems that it is still a dividing line. Everyone, the very rich to the very poor, are created in the image of God. If we judge someone to be more or less because of their net worth, then we are denying their worth as created in the image of God.
Consider your own relationships. Are you friends with people in various social standings? Are you only friends with those in a similar income bracket? Do you judge those who have less? Do you need to broaden your social circle?
1 My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? 2 For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, 3 and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my 5 feet,” 4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? 7 Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you? 8 You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 9 But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. –James Chapter 2
- World’s Richest Woman Sparks Ruckus (huffingtonpost.com)
- 21 Ways Rich People Think Differently (speedwater.wordpress.com)
- Billionairess to Poor: “Spend Less Time Drinking or Smoking and Socializing, and More Time Working” (thedailysheeple.com)