Alicia Renee Sheppard's Blog
We typically think of rich people as those who are abounding in luxury. And because of technology like tv, internet, and social media, we are constantly exposed to the lives of an ultra rich high class, who fly around in private jets, drive six figure cars, throw five figure birthday parties for toddlers, and convert entire wings of their homes into shoe closets--all of which reinforces the idea that we are SO not them.
1. Be a GiverI don't think it's unreasonable to encourage those of us living lives of abundant convenience to regularly give to a reputable charity on top of what we give to our churches and in taxes. Of course, our financial situations are all different. But, more of us could probably stand to do this. Many charitable organizations let people set up monthly auto-drafts, even for small amounts. If everyone giving $0 monthly started giving $1 monthly, that would already be millions of dollars more to charity every month!2. Get Your Friends InvolvedIf you are my local friend, I have a confession. So I've been driving around with a box in my trunk for the past month or so and forgot to tell y'all about it. I placed it there to be a giving box, so that when we get together as we often do for lunch, we can make it a habit to bring our "extra" to the box. Then, when the box is full, it can be taken to a local shelter. Many shelters even make public on their websites a list of items they are in need of--items that we may have sitting around unused, or could easily add on to our shopping lists from time to time. Time to dust off my box and get going! What can you do with your friends?3. Consider the Impact to Your SpiritScripture often gives strong warnings to the rich, but of course this is not because having money or things is bad. Rather, it's because it's easy for those who are satisfied to fail to perceive a daily need for God's presence. It's well-known that many of us draw deepest into prayer in our times of pain and great need. The flip side of that is: abundance can dull our sense of need for God if we allow it to. This is why the writer of Proverbs 30 said, "Give me neither poverty nor riches…lest I be full and deny You, or lest I be poor and steal," (verses 8-9, emphasis mine). So my prayer is not that my wealth would dictate my heart condition, but that my heart condition would dictate what I do with my wealth…that God would not have to regulate my possessions in order for me to regulate my heart. I want to perceive my need for God in every season, whether I have much or little.4. Give ThanksThis one is simple, so I won't belabor the point. Simply said, most of us need to say "thank you" more…a lot more. So let's cultivate hearts of gratitude and make thanksgiving a bigger part of our prayer lives and speech.5. Don't Be JudgmentalWhile we should encourage one another to do our best, we've got to keep in mind that not everyone will be called to give in the same ways that we give. You may have recently found joy in giving your time to reading to children at the local library--but not all of your friends want to do that, too. Let's spread the message, but be flexible about our methods, and keep in mind that the ways we each give will likely be as diverse as our individual talents and personalities!