Talking about financial wealth


Don Merritt has just run a sequence of posts on spiritual gifts. The link to the last of his series is: http://lifereference.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/a-final-thought-or-two/

I struggle with the subject of “spiritual gifts”. I struggle with a lot of topics that essentially say “what about me – how good am I?” There are a lot of them about: the IQ test, the personality test, fitness tests, financial tests, ethical tests, and every other kind of “tell me about me” kind of test.

And even when there is “value in these tests” (whatever that means) – the pigeon hole we adopt is just that: a pigeon hole. Limiting – self-limiting  usually. And prone to suppress questions. Likely to promote the status quo. To allocate a particular way of looking at things, responding to things – things expected of me, things I buy into.

So – much as I love Don like a brother – I struggled with this topic and list of gifts (which seems to have expanded since I last looked at “gifts”). Struggled with my discomfort that Don never misses the point. With Don there is always a point  and – as far as I can tell – Don and his Lord dance perfectly each time Don writes. So what was I missing amidst all my reservations?

This morning He guided me in the oddest of ways. Because he took me to a webpage targeting the most financially wealthy – and we all know that being filthy rich is a sin – that “wealth worship” is probably top of the list.

But there is always a point to His meanders. Always.

And as I read, I was reminded of some core “issues” with us and God:

a) We are rich beyond our wildest dreams – yet see that as a good thing! In fact we promote that “wealth beyond dreams” as the reason to hitch a ride on the God train.

b) We are (maybe) four-hundredeth-generation followers. Two thousand years have passed. The baton has been handed from one generation to the next and the next.

c) We bemoan the prevalence of that sneaky evil force we call The Enemy. And just like the current “global terrorist threat” – having a non-specific but ever present “enemy in our midst” promotes some weirdly intrusive laws and thinking.

d) We are members of a club seemingly more and more convergent with the world of which we are – but of which we are not (and all the weird and divisive thinking that promotes).

I suggest you read the article: “How The Wealthiest Families Make And Lose Their Money”: http://www.forbes.com/sites/toddganos/2014/02/05/how-the-wealthiest-families-make-and-lose-their-money/

Because it seems to me (as I raised an eyebrow and He tapped the screen and refocused my attention) so much of how “wealth is lost” also applies to Church – the Family Business – this Royal Family – we claim as ours.

But, a number of surveys of wealthy families have consistently found that only about 5% of wealthy families’ assets were inherited. The vast majority – approximately 70% – was created in the current generation via business ownership. The remaining 25% of wealth was the result of high-income occupations, such as doctors, attorneys, etc. How can this be?

And the answer?

Studies of wealthy families have consistently found that only one in three successful business owners has created an effective estate plan. Typically, when mom and dad die, their assets are divided among the children, who go their separate ways. When family assets are split up in this way, fortunes change . . . both figuratively and literally.

And He waited while some pennies dropped. And then reminded me of Don’s series on gifts. Don’s plea that if we were “unchurched” by choice that we all find ourselves a church of choice. That a bad experience of church is not a reason for dismissing the whole. That on our own we tend to flame and burn-out. That on our own, these gifts are really of limited value to us or anyone else.

This world of which we are – but are not – has figured out some pretty cool stuff we have yet to understand.

And (surprise, surprise!) Don and his Lord are right on point: spiritual gifts are important. They connect us – they strengthen us – they are the necessary elements of stewardship (unless we prefer to own our little chunk – to fritter it away and live for today).

But, a number of surveys of wealthy families have consistently found that only about 5% of wealthy families’ assets were inherited. The vast majority – approximately 70% – was created in the current generation via business ownership. The remaining 25% of wealth was the result of high-income occupations, such as doctors, attorneys, etc. How can this be?

That is talking about financial wealth – or is it?

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13 thoughts on “Talking about financial wealth

  1. These are interesting thoughts! I struggled a bit with Don’s posts on spiritual gifts for a different reason. It was amongst the comments where a man mentioned that he became a teacher by default because he was the only man in the group. I come from a church tradition that has accepted women as teachers and leaders as far as I can tell from its inception! That is another can of worms. We need to remain so patient with each other.
    As an aside and on the topic of wealth, last week we watched the Channel 4 programme: “How rich are you?”. its main purpose seemed to be to have a go at the rich, without mentioning that the two presenters were probably the wealthiest in the room. The best comment I read was by Hugo Rifkind:” They unveiled a bizarre contraption designed to shift gallons of cold tea into various chambers to show where money moved. Mason had to tug at its levers for ages, like Wallace and Gromit do, when they’ve built a thingumy to open curtains. No idea what was that about. At the end, it did not even produce a savagely overpriced chai tea latte which they could try to sell to their audience at £6 a cup. Which was missing a trick!”
    If you didn’t see the programme, that would have been the best bit!
    Cheers! Julia

  2. Hi,
    I just want to apologise for aspects of my comment above. It is so easy to think and write carelessly. I wasn’t meaning to have a go at Don or the person who discovered his gift for being a teacher. It was great for him that he discovered it. If he had been in my church he may never have realised he had this gift. I think what I meant that within our broken body of Church we need to respect each others sacred spaces and deeply held views and be patient with each other. And even with opposing views, remain connected in the vine.
    Sincerely,
    Julia

    • “We need to remain so patient with each other.” Comment one.

      Julia, thank you. Normally I try and put aside responding to comments until the end of the working day here. Your second comment touched me. Only because the first asked a genuine question without – as far as I can see – any attack on any one or anything. Simply a curiosity with “reality”.

      I think you just demonstrated so well: “I think what I meant that within our broken body of Church we need to respect each others sacred spaces and deeply held views and be patient with each other. ”

      And I wanted to add my support and agreement with how and what you wrote today. Very connected!! 🙂

  3. Great thought provoking post and very closely related to what God laid on my heart to write about today. We just moved so I’ve been out of the WordPress realm and missed Don’d posts so I will go back and read those. Hopefully in the weeks to come I’ll be right back on schedule. Love to you today!

    • I got Forbes – you got caressed bosoms!! 🙂 Lovely to have you pop in and add such connected comments – thank you!! 🙂

      And Don’s series is well worth pondering.

  4. We should be Full and overflowing even. Funny how some people try to steal from others what God so freely and simply gives away to anyone who ask. But that would mean they would have to submit to Him, I suppose its too much to ask from some. For it would mean He is, He is instead of Me, me, me.

    • And therein comes the phrase: there is no such thing as a free lunch. Always a catch, always someone reeling-in someone else. Counter intuitive, counter everything.
      (and there never was such a thing as a free lunch. He died so we might eat freely)
      Keep singing Denine. You sing good.

  5. Believers in Christ Jesus have inherited eternal life. Cannot be bought but was given. Here today, like flowers gone tomorrow. Who will we show God to. That they would have glorified God also. Wealth in its self, placed in the right hands is not a bad thing. Trouble is there are probably very few that can glorify God with it. We don’t know when God will return or call us home. The harvest is ripe, and we need workers. There are many who don’t know Jesus. Paul your post always put me to thinking. I just preached me a good sermon off your post. It fit my heart good. Thank you for your wonderful post. Rest for your soul today in the knowledge of knowing God.

    Much love Tom

    • Hey preacher-man, you preach good!
      What crossed my mind Tom was this “wealth thing” – how we have been blessed beyond measure, are nurtured and filled for eternity – we are the richest people I know. Each one of us. We ought to be shouting from the rooftops instead of at each other!
      “Wealth in itself, placed in the right hands is not a bad thing.”
      My sense is that all of us have the right hands – if we but allow Him to guide – if we but allow Him to shape – if we but allow Him to use what He made these hands for.
      “There are many who don’t know Jesus” – how will they know if we keep Him to ourselves – if we hoard this wealth we don’t really how to handle.

      Let’s all give freely – “it” will never run out, “it” will only grow bigger and bigger – we will all grow bigger together.

      Thank you preacher-man – your words make “it” bigger!

      • I like that idea. Give and it will be given back. Not just money. My time, my stuff!, my heart. Man this is good blogging. You hit the nail on the head bro. Love you man. God bless you Paul.

    • Levi, thank you. Wholeheartedly it’s the heart …

      I Am is the man who can with a plan. A plan for man with I Am at it’s heart. A heart wholeheartedly wholly ours. A wholly holy heart with a beat so neat. A neat beating heart in the heart of mankind. How can this heart be hidden yet beat? ‘Cos, that ain’t loving and that ain’t neat! Let’s get with the beat and never retreat. Let’s share this love – there’s so much to go round!

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