A group of second year college students was standing near the tennis courts waiting for a court when the conversation turned to their ambitions. They were young and naïve and filled with optimistic plans about what life would be like when they graduated. And that is as it should be. They were all Christians. It was a Christian college.
The first one said he wanted to become a teacher, because teachers can help people. The second one said he planned to become a doctor. His father was a doctor and an elder in a West Texas church. He wanted a background in a Christian college and would go from there into his study of medicine. He, too, wanted to help people.
The third one said his main ambition was to be an elder in the church. The fourth one said, “I want to make as much money as I can. I believe the Lord wants us to make as much money as we can so that we can be liberal in our giving.” The group ahead of them finished their set and the foursome moved onto the court to play their game, or perhaps I should say their other game.
I have kept track of them only through others but am fairly well acquainted with their lives in the passing years. One did become an educator. One became an elder and incidentally also happened to make a good bit of money along the way. He has been known for his support of Christian causes. The aspiring doctor did become a doctor and I believe he also is an elder in the congregation where he lives.
The fourth one never did make enough money to become liberal for worthy causes. He is still trying to make enough to do so. I notice, though, that he has been blessed enough that he can afford the most expensive automobiles, a very expensive home and all the accoutrements that go with high living. Some acquaintances have even used the word, “wealthy.” Perhaps some day his ambition of being liberal in his giving back to the Lord will be realized if he doesn’t run out of time.
He had the right idea. In Ephesians 4:28 the Holy Spirit says, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing that is good, that he may have whereof to give to him that hath need.” We work and with God’s blessing make a living for ourselves and “give as God prospers us” so that there is a benefit for others. Besides, it is a divine command that we, “…upon the first day of the week lay by in store as God prospers us.” I Cor. 16:2.
Many church members have the same priority problem our friend has. God is good to them but by the time they buy all they need, then all they want, they just don’t honestly have very much left for the Lord. How sad!
It really is sad! The obituary of the rich man in Luke 12 was spoken by Christ: “So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:21.