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Be strengthened, encouraged, challenged, and inspired in your walk with God as Alicia shares relevant, biblical insights through her blog.  Check back regularly for updates or follow on Twitter!

Alicia Renee Sheppard's Blog

We Are the Rich

by Alicia Renee on 09/23/16

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.

But let's back up--is our view of "rich" actually fair? Are A-list celebrities and multi-million dollar mansion-dwellers truly the only ones who are materially well-off?

From a global, comparative standpoint, I would actually argue that many of us regular folk living in Western society are actually pretty well-off ourselves when we take into consideration the vast amount of resources at our disposal. We may not have an "extra" detached home for our child's play place, but we have more than we need in practically every area of basic human survival: Clothes we never wear. Lights we leave on when exiting the room. Water we leave running as we brush our teeth. And let's not even talk about access to food. (Well, maybe "food-like product" is a more accurate term.) But with take-out on speed dial and fast food restaurants dotting nearly every corner, most of us aren't in danger of dying from starvation any time soon. 

This sense of "extra" is heightened when contrasted with statistics like "nearly 1/2 of the world's population live on less than $2.50 a day…more than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty" (, "1 in 3 people worldwide do not have access to improved sanitation" (, and "783 million do not have access to clean water" ( 

Meanwhile, we are constantly fed images of extravagance, falsely convincing us that we, who in fact are recipients of abundance--are somehow deprived.

So I propose that we revise our idea of what it means to be materially wealthy. The rich are not merely those who are abounding in luxury. The rich are those who are abounding in convenience.

And let's just be honest here--most of us could be living even better, right now, not merely if we earned more money, but if we simply spent less, saved more, and managed what we had more wisely--but that's another story.

So what do we do…feel bad? No, I would argue there is a much more helpful response than simple guilt. And that response, I believe, should be multifaceted. And so, below: a few of my thoughts in 5 simple points. And from there, I believe you can build as God leads you!

1. Be a Giver
I 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 Involved
If 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 Spirit
Scripture 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 Thanks
This 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 Judgmental
While 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!

When we view ourselves as poor, we are more likely to justify attitudes of self-centeredness in ourselves. But when we view ourselves as rich, our eyes become open to the many opportunities to bless the people around us, and we are reminded to take to heart Scripture's exhortation to keep our material wealth from dulling our hunger for God.