September 7 – Rich

Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. (2 Corinthians 9:11)

Read: Song of Solomon 5:1-8:14, 2 Corinthians 9:1-15, Psalm 51:1-19, Proverbs 22:24-25

Relate: What does it mean to be rich? What careers or life directions can lead someone to becoming wealthy? When I think of jobs that will make a person rich, being a social social worker does not come anywhere close to the top of my list. I have known quite a few social workers in my day and words like “overworked”, “underpaid”, “unappreciated”, and “just-scraping-by” seem to be much more appropriate to describe them than “rich” or “wealthy”. Don’t tell that to Julia Wise. She and her husband, who happens to have a slightly more lucrative of a job, combine their incomes and then live on 6% of that total. In 2013 that meant that after taxes and savings, they spent $15,280 on themselves. How much did I live on last year? How much did you?

What does this frugal couple do with the rest of their money? I will let Julia answer that question herself. She says, “Every dollar I spend is a dollar out of the hands of someone who needs it more than me. I’ve always felt that way.” In 2014 they gave over $128,000 to various charities. For the last two years that number has jumped to over $160,000. Some of the big recipients of their giving are Oxfam, Against Malaria Foundation, Save the Children, and the Center for Effective Altruism. While only one of these would be an organization I would give to, I still have to admire the discipline and heart it takes for a couple (with two daughters) to give so much. In my book Julia, and her husband Jeff, are very rich.

React: What am I living on? How much of the money I have spent on this past year was wasted? This past month? This week? Today? What are some ways I can more effectively budget both my time and money so that I can become more generous? What are some ways God has blessed me in which I am not in turn being a blessing to others? Have I not been blessed more by God because He knows that I will not in turn pay it forward? In His book am I not an effective investment? Why or why not?

Respond:

Dear God,
You are so good to me. Time beyond number and in ways beyond imagining You have blessed me over and over again. I know without question that You have blessed me so that I can in turn bless others. Yet in spite of all this I have this sinful need to cling to those blessings as if in fear that they will not continue into the future. Help me to let go and trust You. Help me to open my hands and heart so that I might better become a conduit rather than just a recipient of Your blessings. Give me a heart like Yours so that the world might see and love You through the generosity You teach me.
Amen

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