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Are You Rich?

Are you familiar with the 10% tithe principle...the "20% rule..."the 50/50 rule?" What about the 100% rule? Of course, in scripture we are told we are to give God ten percent of our possessions. In the twenty percent rule around churches, it is known as twenty percent of the people doing eighty percent of the work. And the 100% rule? Well, that is what Jesus talks about in our passage for next Sunday's message.

In the tenth chapter of the Gospel of Mark, we read of someone who has wealth beyond imagination. He approaches Jesus to ask what he has to "do" to inherit the kingdom of God. The wealthy man approaches it from the standpoint the way he used to gain his wealth — do the right things and you will accomplish what you want to achieve. Jesus has a different approach!

If someone were to ask you how much accumulated resources do you need to call yourself "rich?" How would you explain how you got to that answer? What might you have done to accomplish this status? At what point do you consider yourself "rich?"

This is what may be the predominant thinking of our culture:

  1. You no longer have to work to fund your lifestyle. If you work it is because you want to work, not because you need to work.

  2. The unearned income you generate exceeds your living expenses.

  3. You can afford to take the number of vacations you want to take during the year, irrespective of what that number is.

  4. You can afford any and all healthcare or medical costs that may arise for you, your spouse, or any family members, including the cost of long-term care inside or outside your home.

  5. You can afford to purchase new cars for you and your family without relying on bank loans.

  6. Even if you got divorced, it would not require that you or your family alter your lifestyle.

  7. If you wanted to, you could afford to pay college costs for all of your children or grandchildren without it affecting your lifestyle.

  8. You own your home and/or your vacation home outright. You have no mortgages for either.

  9. You can afford to meet large, unforeseen expenses, without it affecting your lifestyle.

  10. You have no financial constraints on your activities. You can do what you please, when you please, without considering the cost.

  11. You have zero debt.

  12. You no longer require life insurance, health insurance or long-term care insurance. You can self-fund the costs associated with these types of insurance. If you carry insurance, it is either for estate tax planning purposes or to protect the assets you've accumulated.

[Thomas C. Corley, "How to know if you're rich," November 10, 2014. Retrieved March 23, 2018.]

If you meet all of these twelve tests, then you are a rich person. Really? Is that what makes one "rich?" What about relationships and connections? What about faith and hope? What about love extended to those beyond our own circles? Are the twelve steps offered by Corley's article enough to believe you are rich?

I have found how "rich" I am in family, community, relationships, connections, and reaching out to those outside my circles in their times of greatest need. And at yesterday's "Holy Hootenanny" I felt that "wealth!" And guess what, it wasn't twenty-percent of the people doing eighty percent of the "work," but all present who gave 100% of themselves. Yes, I am rich beyond belief! How about you?

Pastor Steve

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