Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 46:1-47:7 / 1 Timothy 6:3-21 / Psalm 119:73-80
The American Dream is a set of ideals that define freedom as an opportunity for prosperity, success, and an upward advancement achieved through hard work. Life in America is to be better, richer and fuller for everyone. Opportunities for success are possible regardless of social class, status or birth. Millions of immigrants have come to the United States to pursue a better, productive and richer life.
We have discovered that the American Dream does not dissolve economic lines between rich and poor. The federal poverty level for a family of 4 in the United States is at $23,550. The number of Americans living at or below the poverty line is at 15%. Above them is the middle class with a median income level of $51,107. Finally, 1% to 2% percent of Americans are considered upper class.
Paul’s words to Timothy address this topic of “riches”. “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.” (1 Timothy 6:17) It is foolish to place our hope in riches that are valued by an unstable and uncertain system. Our volatile market and economy changes daily and is just a catastrophe away from collapse.
It is God who provides for us and gives us everything we need in life to be content and joyous. Paul also writes, “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” (vs.18) Sharing is not giving our “extras” but giving “what we have”. Yes, some have “extra” to share but those are blessings of God in our lives so that we can be a generous and godly blessing to others.
In actuality, being “rich” is relative depending on the economic comparisons. If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep ... you are richer than seventy five percent of the people in the world. If your family income is $10,000 a year, you are wealthier than 84 percent of the world. Almost half the world, 3 billion people, lives on less than $2.50 a day and 80% of the world live on less than $10.00 a day.
Finally, Paul writes, “In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” (vs.19) True life is not measured by what we have in this world but what we have stored up in eternity. There is nothing like being “rich” in generosity and giving.
God is the giver of all good things and He gave us the greatest gift of His Son. He has also placed within us the riches of His glory, grace and goodness. So be faithful with the blessings that God has given you. No matter what we have or do not have…God makes us “rich”.
Pastor James Clark has pastored Calvary Assembly since 1985. He is blessed with his wife Yvonne, six children, two son-in-laws, a beautiful granddaughter and hopefully many more grandchildren to follow!