While Occupy Wall Street is slowly working its way out of the news, the ideas behind it are holding strong: being rich is evil. If you’re well above the average (the saying goes) you should have your riches taken away from you. It doesn’t matter how you collected the money. If you have it, you must be evil and greedy
The problem with this logic is: America’s homeless are some of the richest people in the world.
Before you hate me too much, take a minute to work through my logic.
- Assume the average homeless person collects $10 dollars a day panhandling (way below the true average).
- He does this every day of the year leaving him with a grand total of $3,650 dollars – less than most Americans make in a month. Well below the poverty line.
- According to the Global Rich List, this puts them above 85% of the world. That’s top 15%!
Money Doesn’t Make You Greedy
While there are a few greedy millionaires, most aren’t that consumed by money. They live their lives like anyone else and if you saw them on the street you’d call them “normal”, “nice”, and even “generous”.
But you know who is greedy? Pretty much everyone else.
Consider your home. You sit comfortably on your couch and watch one of your multiple TVs. You have an internet connection and munch on junk food between meals. You have 2 or even 3 cars and while you worry about gas, you’ve never run out for lack of funds.
Now think of the rest of the world: No TV, not internet, no car, and none of this “multiple meals” garbage.
And while Americans have all these things and more we are still completely consumed with what we don’t have. That’s called greed; and Christians are some of the worst culprits!
We follow a God who calls us to give until it hurts, who lived as a homeless traveling preacher, and then we scoff at the pastor who asks us to help him pay the bills. But didn’t Peter say not muzzle the ox while it treads the grain (1 Tim 5:18)? And wasn’t it Jesus who said the worker deserves his wages (Luke 10:7)?
Because Jesus thought the rich should get what they work for. He thought preachers should be taken care of by their congregations and that His people should give of their money, time, and talents freely.
Is that You?
Are you living the way Jesus commanded you to?
I’m about as greedy as they come! As I grow older and get better handling money, I find myself wanting to keep more and give less. When choosing between going out to eat or dropping $20 dollars into the offering I tend to do the former.
What about you? Are you giving until it hurts, even if it’s just a little pain? Are you happy to support the men and women in ministry around you?
Are you as convicted by Jesus’ words as I am?
Being rich isn’t what makes you greedy – you’re already rich. If having a giant pile of money does anything it’s that it gives you a perspective on things that really matter (check out Bill Gates!).
It’s time for American Christians to stop worrying about the greed speck that isn’t even in the rich’s eye and take a long hard look at the log in our own.
What are you doing to counter greed?