Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.
-- Deuteronomy 15:10
As Christ-followers, our faith grows as we continue to learn God's ways for living in the world and transforming it for His Kingdom. And it turns out that generosity is one of the character traits that He wants us to acquire and put into action along the journey. This is particularly relevant since we in 21st Century America are all so very rich...at least when compared to most of the world's population.
It's unlikely that most of us feel like Donald Trump or Bill Gates when we look at our bank statements. But maybe we should. According to recent data from The Human Development Report, 3 billion people in the world live on less than $2.50 per day! Even more jaw-dropping is that 80 percent of the world's population lives on less than $10 each day.
These statistics should put our individual financial situations--bleak or otherwise--into perspective. Millions of Americans may be unemployed, on welfare or receiving food stamps. But even this reflects relative wealth against the backdrop of the crushing poverty found in sub-Saharan Africa, India or even Brazil.
So how are we "millionaires" to respond with our excess of riches?
First, it's important to understand that being rich isn't a sin in itself. After all, Abraham--one of the heroes of the Old Testament--was quite wealthy. However, the way you get rich can be an issue. Do you gain by exploiting or cheating others? And are you being honest in your business affairs?
And there's also an even bigger question about wealth: What are you doing with your money?
"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment," the Apostle Paul wrote to his protégé, Timothy. "Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share."
Whether it seems like it or not, most of us are millionaires when compared with the vast majority of the world. And with this wealth comes responsibility. Of course, we can never use our money to out-give God. But we can use it freely to positively impact our friends, neighbors and total strangers by being incredibly generous...and amazing examples of lives transformed by Jesus.