My Skilled Friend and I
“Jack, I can come over this morning and solve that garage door problem that’s got you licked.” I was delighted with our handyman friend’s offer after I had I told him of my useless struggles. When he arrived, he looked over the problem and said, “I got this.” That afternoon, I sat at my computer, and my fingers rattled my keyboard. As the sentences of my current Work in Progress scrolled up my screen, I thought, “I got this.”
God’s Gifts to His People
During my evening walk, I meditated on how every human being is exceptional, with at least one of several skills—things that they can potentially do better than other people. Every Christian also has at least one unique ability, given by God, that he or she can develop in His service. An accountant looks at a sheet of numbers that look like gibberish to me, and smiling says, “These figures sing to me.” My wife can flip open a cookbook, glance at a recipe and intuitively know what it will taste like.
So, what should we do with these abilities and ministry gifts from God? 1 Peter 4:10 has the answer: “Each one should use whatever gift he (or she) has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” The apostle Paul lists God-given skills like teaching, serving, encouragement and giving, among others. (Romans 12:6-8)
The Gift of Creating Wealth
What bothers me is that some Christians do not appreciate one amazing gift that God has given certain ones of His people. I’m talking about the ability to recognize and capitalize on profitable business opportunities, with the result that those who work hard with this God-given skill become wealthy and are outrageously generous.
A Negative Attitude
What makes Christians so critical of rich Christians—people who have been gifted by God to make a lot of money? Well, the Bible uses some extraordinarily strong language in judging rich people. In Chapter 5, the apostle James rants against the rich, telling them to weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on them. He refers to rotted wealth, corroded silver and gold that will corrode their flesh like fire.
After reading some of this chapter, we might come away with the idea that being rich is sinful. Not so. God cursed these people, not because they were rich, but because they had disobeyed God’s command concerning gaining wealth:
- They had exploited the poor, paying unfair wages, and had dealt dishonestly with customers, employees, and the government.
- They trusted in their wealth, abandoning faith in “God who gives you the ability to produce wealth.” Deut. 8:18
- They spent their money on themselves and did not care for the poor, nor did they further God’s work on earth.
It is not money itself that is evil, but the love of money and the sinful, selfish ways some people become rich.
A Positive Attitude
We will think positively about rich people when we note God’s blessing on people who become rich by using their God-given wealth-producing talents while also obeying all His commands concerning wealth.
Some of our financial supporters have been gifted by God to produce a lot of wealth in business. They earn it legally and honestly, performing a constructive service to humanity. Their morals and business ethics are beyond reproach. They understand that all the money they earn belongs to God and that they are merely managers. They prove this by giving away a significant proportion of their income to meet human physical and spiritual needs.
And yet, sometimes I hear negative comments about Christians who live in large, well-furnished homes and drive newest model vehicles. That bothers me, especially when I happen to know that the wealthy persons they referred to earned their money honestly, continue to trust God, and are generous to the point of extravagance in their giving.
A Biblical Attitude
So, what about driving that new car, or living in a lovely house? God said it this way, “Don’t muzzle the ox that treads out the grain!” I’m sure that our handyman friend’s home has not only a functioning garage door opener; all his machines and appliances work at full efficiency.
In the same way, we Christians need to be glad for the special income-generating abilities our Father gives to some of our brothers and sisters when we see them enjoying a beautiful home, even one large enough to house celebrations for plenty of friends and overnight guests, and an vehicle that we might consider luxurious. We need to be glad for them and praise God for giving them this wealth producing ability.
And not just because they passed on some of that wealth to meet our needs!