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The Biggest Test of Riches that will Last Forever

Are your riches built of gold, silver and all the precious stones, or of chaff that can be burnt or blown away by the wind?

By Stephen Ng

Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to set their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:17-19

IN the above passage, young pastor Timothy was advised by his mentor, the Apostle Paul to instruct the rich people, who were many times more experienced in life than Timothy himself.

They were told that whatever millions or billions that they were hoarding are nothing but the "uncertainty of riches."

When Job, a man of great wealth, experienced calamities that struck him, his family and his wealth, he said: "I left my mother's womb naked, and I will return to God naked. The LORD has given, and the LORD has taken. May the name of the LORD be blessed." (Job 1:21). Empty handed we came, empty handed we will go!

Think about this. Your "millions and billions" hoarded in banks and investments, where will you go? How many millions can you bring with you when it is time to go?

Consistent with What Jesus taught the Rich Young Man

What Paul taught Timothy is consistent with what Jesus told the rich young man, "Go and sell your belongings and give to the poor."

Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

Think about it. All your life you have worked hard. You have accumulated great wealth that runs into millions or even billions.

In God's economy, the money that you accumulate is not to be kept in the bank to collect interests.

Even secular economists would tell you that money in the bank, if not utilised, will not turn the economic wheel we call the Gross Domestic Products (GDP). This is why the banks will use your money to generate more income for themselves.

At your age, you might as take out a significant amount of money that you have amassed and, after calculating how much you may need to give to your children and wife, and how much you may need to stand by for medical care, food and lodging and the amounts you need to survive, use the rest of the money for chartiy. Some big business onwers such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have set good examples by giving a significant amount of money based on percentage of hteir wealth to bless the world.

Now, Time for Reflection

Charles Dickens' Scrooge: A Christmas Carol was written with this same thing in mind.

When was the last time you engage someone to do a job, and you try to pay pittance for the job done? Even though you know this brother or sister is struggling financially, you choose not to bless him or her with a bonus?

I did a book project for a very rich tycoon, who offered to pay me a hefty sum, and even paid an additional bonus for the job well done. He is not even a believer, but one who understands the hard work put into the book.

When did you last give a salary adjustment to your staff who perform well in the company?

With the cost of living now rising, the pressure is on your staff (especially the ones who are good performers) to keep moving on to the next job until he finds he has reached a "comfortable" level and there is disposable income.

Do not expect the younger generation to eat and drink in small coffee shops that we used to do.

By giving them a good salary adjustment, you are motivating them to perform even better. This was what happened in Union Polymers when the new Managing Director, SH Lee carried out the salary adjustments for us. We saw a big jump in our salaries and many of us were motivated to give our best to the company. Our basic needs were already "met" through the salary adjustments.

Recently, I have a client who is willing to pay me a retainer fee even though I have been trying to get things done for them, but they have been too busy. Impressed, do you think I would not hope to give them my best, especially when they know how to reward me handsomely?

After all the human capital is the most important key to a company's success, and it is in fact, a small percentage of your overall budget.

Why not fork out a million to help the poor?

Your wealth may run into the millions. What happens to your wealth, when you go? It will be distributed to your children and grandchildren. Will they be spendthrift like you? Will they know how to manage their sudden windfall?

Instead, if you take out a million ringgit each, collectively you will be able to bring smiles to a lot of the poor people in our society. Pastors in rural churches need financial support, Christians in social work do not have a retirement fund and live in poverty themselves, Christian artists and authors need fund to build a larger tent so that their books and albums can touch more lives.

Pastor Philip Lyn introduced a very good book to read, "Israel: the Start up Nation." The book talks about how Israel can have the third biggest number of start-ups in NASDAQ. One of the reasons, the authors claim, is because of the network of people with different resources and talents. The one with the idea needs the funder; but they need the engineer who can implement the idea, the marketing talents who can bring the idea to the world. They just get together and they all make it to where Israel is today, technologically with just a population of 9 million.

Remember, it is not about leaving behind a legacy in the form of:

-- the grandest tombstone or the pyramid that surpasses the glory of the Egyptian pyramids
-- monuments will be gone and soon no one cares who the heck you are (don't mind me speaking the ordinary man's language everyone is familiar) -- leaving behind your reputation as a successful business tycoon. That, too, will fade away. It is useful for only a few generations, and soon, people will remember just one name because they heard it mentioned in the history class.
-- It is also not about telling people that you are already giving a lot of money to different causes. People do not want to hear that. What they want is bread and butter, and if you are telling them how much you have given to others, would it not be an insult to them?

Investing into your bank account in Heaven

Meanwhile the money that you bring out will not only help to grease the small businesses and help them to do well, but it will become a blessing to many people. You are already saved, and you are now exchanging your earthly wealth into eternal wealth.

When they do well, the money will eventually find its way back to your own coffers.

This is God's economy. This is also what economists find to be the way how a country's economy works. Money must circulate, and the more the money circulates, the greater is the GDP. Please share this with your rich friends. You are doing them a favour by reminding them to seek first the kingdom of God, "...storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life."


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