We hear a lot about the widening gap between the rich and the poor these days. What we often don’t think about is that in God’s eyes, no one is really rich. We’re all equally poor. We just convince ourselves that His stuff belongs to us.
Consider the convicting message Christ delivered to the infamous church at Laodicea:
I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. (Rev. 3:15-16)
Most of us followers of Christ know that part. We’ve heard sermons about being lukewarm before. But what we may fail to notice is that the first evidence of their disinterest in an authentic relationship with God was this: they had begun to think of God’s stuff – His time, talent, and treasure – as their own.
For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing….’ (Rev. 3:17)
But rich with what? Wasn’t it merely with stuff they had been given to steward by their Master? Grace, truth, time, energy, housing, talents, money, breath – none of God’s resources really belonged to them. So none of them were really rich.
The Truth about the Saints
The truth about the saints at Laodicea was very different from what they were thinking:
For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing,’ not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. (Rev. 3:17)
Wretched. That’s not exactly the attribute we like to lead with when first introduced, is it? However, if we’re ever going to embrace a generous life, we must start by seeing ourselves and all our stuff as God sees it. We are wretched, poor, blind, and naked. Only His grace can clothe and equip us to steward His resources in a way that brings us into deeper communion with Him.
The Truth about Stewards
The fact that some of us have been given more to steward than others doesn’t change our woeful condition. We don’t think of one financial manager as being richer than another because he or she manages more assets than another. Both are equally stewards. Both don’t actually own the assets they manage. Neither one is really richer than the other no matter how large the portfolio may be that they steward. Because none of it actually belongs to them.
The sooner we repent of our sinful grip on God’s stuff, the sooner we can embrace authentic relationship with our Master. As Christ tells the Laodiceans:
Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (Rev. 3:19-20)
What if we lived in the reality that none of the stuff we think of as “ours” is actually ours to begin with? What if we lived as if He can take it back at any time? Would we be okay with that if He did? If not, what does that say about our heart’s grip on God’s stuff?
As you consider this simple truth, where have you left your Master? Still outside, awaiting an explanation for our failed stewardship? Or inside, graciously supping with you – the destitute, wretched, poor, blind, and needy?
We invite you to explore Living Generously and the new series from Rhemedia Loving Generously at ReimagineGenerosity.com.