While our family was living in Kenya in the 1980s, we drove a young woman from Nairobi to visit her parents who lived near Lake Victoria. On the way, we stopped in the city of Kisumu to leave our luggage at a hotel where we would stay after taking her home. When our friend saw our hotel room that we considered an average-size room with two beds, she said, “All this for only five of you?” What we considered ordinary, she saw as luxurious. Riches are relative, and some of us who live in prosperous nations have a tendency to complain about a standard of living that others would gladly embrace.

Among the followers of Christ in Ephesus, some had more money than others. To Timothy, their pastor, Paul wrote, “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17). Paul urged them to “be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share” (v.18).

Our natural tendency is to grasp what we have instead of freely giving to those in need. The challenge of riches is living with thankful hearts to God and open hands to others.