A few days ago I had a conversation with my friend Adam* about life with lots of resources. Adam made a good deal of money in a business he started. He lives in a nice house and has nearly every opportunity before him. He was very thankful for what God had given him, but he seemed to be weighted by it. He wondered aloud with me saying, “Who am I to have all this?” I dug in further with him and said, “Sometimes having lots of resources brings a huge weight with it and people aren’t allowed to admit it.”
He was visibly relieved by what I said and said, “Yeah! And if you even hint that having lots of money is hard people roll their eyes and say, ‘Boy, I wish I had your problems.’”
There is a weight that comes with resources. They are resources in your possession and if you understand that they come from someplace or Someone else, there is also responsibility. That’s why I love Adam’s statement, “Who am I to have all this?” It points to the notion of stewardship—we are taking care of someone else’s stuff.
This weight brings questions: Am I doing stewardship right? Am I taking care of these resources appropriately? Am I being wise? Why am I so afraid with all this stuff? Why do I feel guilty? Am I living in a scarcity or an abundance model? This last question helps me to understand the parable of the talents and what happened to the guy who buried his resources (see Matthew 25 and The Theology of Scarcity)
Here are three things to think about when you consider life with a lot of resources:
First, the weight of resources is real and it can be tough.
Second, the weight of resources is a spiritual issue and the path of stewardship must be walked in partnership with the Holy Spirit. Discerning how to steward resources is not a one-time event. Rather this discernment comes out of relationship–a relationship with the living God.
Finally, how do you know you are growing on the path of stewardship? Joy is indicator of growth. So what seems weighty can actually lead to joy.
This all takes time and help from your community. This is what Adam and I discussed throughout our evening together. As he talked, I sense a lightening of the weight—and we promised each other to talk again.
*This person’s name has been changed.