by Martijn van Tilborgh
There are many things in this world that could be defined as “evil”. Hate, war, crime, racism, abuse…the list could go on and on. However, one of the most destructive evils I have witnessed in my lifetime is poverty.
Poverty is described by the Webster dictionary as “the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions.”
Many say that money can be a root to all kinds of evil. But at the same token, poverty can be the root of all kinds of evil too.
A lack of resources has the ability to make people do things that, under normal circumstances, they would never do. Much of the crime we face today in our society has roots in poverty.
Yet the biggest tragedy happens when poverty causes someone to settle for something that is second (or third or worse) best. Whenever we experience lack, the temptation arises to trade our life for something that could potentially compensate for the deficit we’re dealing with. Suddenly, we settle for jobs we hate. Before long we spend our days doing things we don’t want to do, simply because it helps us bridge the gap between what we have and what we need in order to survive. When this happens, it becomes increasingly more difficult to break from what keeps you from living a life you love.
Welcome to the rat race!
There are only a few things more painful than to watch a man give up on his life’s dreams and waste his life on doing things he despises, simply to make ends meet.
Thankfully God Himself declares in Isaiah 61:1 that He brings good news to the poor. His Gospel carries some exciting news to those who encounter these dynamics.
What could that good news possibly be?
Well here it is … God wants you to:
- Live a life you love.
- Live a life of significance.
- Live a life that adds value to others.
- Live a life that impacts the world around you.
And you can even make money while you’re at it!
No! This is not wishful thinking. In fact, it’s God’s heart to help us break free from poverty and unleash us into a life of abundance. Not just so that we can be blessed, but also so that we can be a blessing to others.
Sure, we’re all born into this world within a different context. Our context may determine how we start our lives, but it doesn’t have to define how we end our lives.
It’s not about what you’ve got. It’s all about WHAT YOU DO with what you got!
Let me explain ...
Jesus teaches the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-29. I’m not going to quote it in full here, but do read it for yourself.
The moral of the story is that there were different servants who were given a different number of talents. One got five, one got two and one received just a single talent. One could say that that’s not fair, and I get that. However, it’s not so much about what you got when you came into this world as much as it is about what you do with what you’ve been given.
Sure, everyone is born into this world differently. Yet, if we’re responsible over what we’ve been given and we steward it right, we’ll be able to reap the fruit of the multiplication that good stewardship brings.
Here’s the reality. Everyone has been given at least one talent. Maybe your talent is very small compared to those around you. Don’t be discouraged. That small talent you possess holds the key to break free from the imprisonment of poverty. It has the potential to grow and propel you forward into a life of abundance and prosperity.
The dictionary defines the word “talent” in two different ways:
1. natural aptitude or skill: e.g. “he possesses more talent than any other player”; synonyms: aptitude, gift, knack, expertise
2. a former weight and unit of currency, used especially by the ancient Romans and Greeks
In other words, a talent is both a “gift/expertise” as well as a financial “currency.” Someone’s gift (or talent) is directly tied to their financial situation. As someone’s talent multiplies, so does the money. When God gives you a gift and you work your gift for the sake of others, your financial situation will benefit in direct proportion to the increase of your talent.
The problem is that, many times, we’re not working within the grace of our given talent. We work hard, but impact few. We toil and sweat, but live a life of lack. The key is to work within the grace of your talent. When you do this, your impact increases as well as your finances. You cannot steward your talent without benefiting financially. Financial abundance is the byproduct of stewarding the gift that God has given you.
If you feel like you're stuck in a cycle that seems impossible to break free from, I want you to consider the following. Regardless of your social status, race, upbringing or even the political climate you’re in, you’ve been given a talent by God Himself. This talent is your gateway into living the life you’ve always wanted to live. A life that allows you to turn your passion into profits while impacting the world around you.
No, this doesn’t mean that the journey will be easy. In fact, expect some turbulence along the way. But what I can promise you is that God will be faithful through it all. His plan and purpose for your life will ultimately prevail as you remain faithful and persistent through the process.
Here are some practical tips to get started:
Be aware of what you’ve got!
That dream that’s deep down within your heart. That desire that feels like it’s no longer there. That skill or talent that others recognize in you. Those things have been given to you by God Himself. Own it and put it to work with confidence so He can multiply it.
Don’t despise the day of small beginnings.
What you’ve got may be small, but don’t underestimate the power of multiplication. Results are compounded when something is multiplied over and over again. Even the smallest number multiplied over and over again can add up to something astronomical in a relatively short period of time.
Hustle every day.
You gotta work it! Nothing happens automatically. Put the gift that God has given you to work. Not just sporadically, but every day. Maybe you still need that day job (at least for now). But start putting that gift to work in your spare time. Add value to others. Do what you’re good at because God has given you that ability and start developing a business out of your passion.
Always add value to others first.
The Bible says that when you give, it shall come back to you (Luke 6: 38)! It says that “A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.” In order to experience that type of abundance, we have to give to others first. Add value to others first! You can never go wrong with that.
When you do that, I promise you, God will come through for you so you can live the most fulfilling life you can ever live.
Author and speaker Les Brown said the following:
“The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.”
Don’t allow the graveyard to be richer. Instead, let’s live life to the fullest.
The world around you doesn’t owe you anything. In fact, you owe the world something. Something precious. Something valuable. The gift, the talent that you’ve been given. Love what you do. Do what you’re good at. Add value to the world around you as you put that gift to work, and prosper while you’re at it.