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. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Rich Get Richer

Photo by mark_the_legend_foster
Those Evil Rich People

I believe a lot of wealthy people get a bum wrap in today's society. Perhaps this is nothing new. Many people probably have the view that rich people are just really lucky; like, they won life's lottery or something. Sure, some people have probably been blessed with perhaps more than they deserve, but the majority of wealthy people are wealthy because they understand the inner workings of finances. They are excellent producers as well as managers.

The Parable Of The Ten Minas

Even Jesus addressed the issue of financial management for the believer through a parable in Luke 19:11-27:
While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’
   “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’
   “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.
   “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’
   “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’
   “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’
   “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’
   “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’
   “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’
   “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’
   “‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’
   “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away. But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’”
The Rich Get Richer For Good Reasons

Wealthy people are excellent producers. They understand what it takes to make money on a consistent basis, whether it be through a specific talent (such as athletes, musicians, actors, etc.), a high-powered corporate-type position, or a small business. These people know how to generate revenue.

And these people who know how to make money, more often than not, know how to wisely manage their wealth. They spend less than they earn, and what they do spend, they spend it wisely. They invest a size-able portion in investments with good returns. They are proactive and do something with the money they have been blessed with. They understand that taking a cash position is a losing proposition. So, they take some calculated risks, invest their money as wisely as possible, and typically do well. They also often give a portion of it away. They understand the value of living life with an open hand.

It would also seem that money attracts more money, as well as those that are talented at producing more cash flow, receive more. We can see the principle displayed in the parable of the Ten Minas. At the end of the story, the master gave the one mina from the lazy servant over to the servant that earned ten minas. Then, the master completed his assessment of his servants productivity by stating, "...everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away."

The Lord Wants You To Be A Good Manager

From the passage above, we can get the sense that the Lord wants us to manage well whatever He has given us to manage. An interesting observation from this passage is that each of the ten servants got exactly the same amount of money - one mina. Apparently, one of these servants was a high-octane investor because he was able to roll one mina and earn ten more. I want to know that guy's investment strategy!

According to Jesus' story, another servant did well by earning five more minas from his original one. The third servant mentioned in this story did nothing with his mina, though. He just sat on it. He protected the money. He took a cash position so that he would neither gain money or lose money. When the king returned for an accounting of his money from his servants, he was definitely not happy with the third servant.

Takeaway For The Christian

Okay, so what's the takeaway from this parable for the believer in Christ? First, I think we need to view this parable in light of the fact that Jesus is most likely referring to more than just money. He has given us time, talents, and money to invest for Kingdom purposes. We need to be proactive in utilizing all of the resources He has blessed us to manage.

Second, the Lord wants a return on whatever He has given you to manage. If He has given you a musical talent, then you better be busy investing energy into growing that talent for Him. Practice, take lessons, and do whatever it takes to increase that musical ability. Then, use that talent for God's glory. If God has given you a lot of free time, then volunteer to help your church with various projects, ministries, or missions trips that they have going. If God has blessed you financially, then you need to manage that money well, spend and invest it wisely, and give back to our Lord, generously!

Third, nothing is too small to manage. If you are faithful with the smaller portions, He's then going to trust you with even more to manage. Whether the time, talent, or money is large or small, everything is a test of your management ability.

So, if you were to assess your management skills today, how would you fare? Would you fire you? Or, would you give yourself even more stuff to manage?

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