There’s a lot of talk in politics recently about “income disparity,” and the “Have’s” and the “Have Not’s.” Some seem to enjoy nothing more than to rile up the emotions of the “99 %” against those who have more material goods than they do.

But wealth, generosity, and poverty are not concepts primarily defined by your bank account, adjusted gross income, or zip code.

Wealth or poverty is a state of mind.

Yes, there is injustice in the world, and Christians do godly work in combating that injustice. But for YOU, the first question is much more immediate and personal:

Are you a giver or a taker?

That question is the best way to determine your state of mind when it comes to wealth or poverty.

The people you know with considerable material goods – aren’t some of them much happier than others? Don’t some of them give generously, even extravagantly, to individuals or causes to make a positive difference? And don’t some of them seem to be horribly anxious about accumulating even more stuff?

And the people you know without many material goods – aren’t some of them happy, and others miserable? Don’t some of them give generously of what they do have, making others want to be with them? And don’t some of them hoard their little, blaming and complaining and spreading misery everywhere?

Money and happiness don’t necessarily go together.

Your check book is a good place to look to see whether you are a giver or a taker. But here are some other less mercurial ways to tell:

You can take:

  • Someone else’s reputation or good name
  • Time from your employer
  • Attention to yourself from others who need your care
  • Hope from others by pointing out everything bad about their efforts

You can give:

  • Encouragement by giving a deserved compliment
  • A listening ear to someone struggling
  • Your best effort to your employer
  • Information to someone it could help
  • Love – to your family, and anyone else within your sphere of influence

If you see yourself as poor, you will not see yourself as having anything to give.

If you see yourself as rich, you’ll always find something to be generous with.

How rich are you?

Your turn: How wealthy (or poor) is your state of mind? What is within your power to be able to give away? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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