I was listening to the radio a few weeks ago, and the radio host was reading comments from his Tweeter page and stumbled across an interesting rant and the host decided to address the rant on the air. Apparently, a self-proclaimed hard working average citizen has taken offense to the actions of a particular wealthy individual.
As it was reported, this certain wealthy individual, on a night out on the town, to celebrate a friend’s birthday, spent about $90,000 on drinks for his entourage which also included a $10,000 tip! That’s right! $100,000 was spent on bottle service in one night!
This type of irresponsible spending was appalling to the average hard working citizen so he decided to vent. He ranted about how he had to work multiple jobs to the make a third of that amount and can barely pay his way through school and provide for himself. How dare the rich entertainer have the gall to frivolously spend so much money while he has to steward every penny just to make ends meet! The rich individual, in his eyes, obviously was being a poor steward and was just plain and simply wasteful!
The conversation intrigued me because I know the radio host is, what I consider, really conservative when it comes to fiscal issues so I wondered how the host was going to respond. His response and reasoning was enlightening. The radio host started by bringing to light an interesting fact that was omitted by the ranter. The host pointed out that the entertainer that spent $100,000 in one night made $42,000,000 last year! Now that’s a lot of money! The radio host proceeded to explain how knowing that piece of information changes the dynamic of the situation. How is someone making $42,000,000 in a year who spent $100,000 in one night any different any than someone who makes $42,000 a year spending $100 in a night?! The only difference is the scaling of the numbers; but the proportion is exactly the same!
I have heard this same argument in other situations. I recall the story of a man worth $2 billion dollars being ridiculed and labeled as wasteful for driving a $400,000 car. But to him, a car of that statue represents only a small portion of his net worth and is not really extravagant. This is equivalent to someone who is worth $50,000 driving a $1,000 car! How much do you make in a year? How much is your car worth?
The point to be made here is it is about stewardship. Those that have more to steward (rich people) can enjoy luxuries others cannot because they have more to manage and it does not make them poor stewards or bad people. They are simply enjoying the fruits of their labors. Biblically speaking, Solomon was the richest man to every walk the earth and he enjoyed luxuries no one ever did before. Does that mean he was a bad steward? Did God make a mistake when He promised to give Solomon his great wealth for exhibiting a pure heart of a steward when he asked for wisdom to govern God’s people (2 Chronicles 1:11-12)?
How much is too much? It depends. We each have to ask ourselves that question, but we are not called to answer that question about anyone else. We all have boundaries to live within; some people’s boundaries are a lot that others. It always has been that way and it always will be (Matt. 26:11). It would behoove us to celebrate the success of others and stay off the judgement seat! Your time, energy, and words are better spent focused on your situation rather than criticizing the stewardship of others. So be careful and don’t judge, less you also will be judged (Matt 7:1-3). God Bless.