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Who are the richest people in the world? Well, according to an article dated May 6, 2021, there are 2,091 billionaires on the planet. And at the top of the list include the following: Jeff Bezos – worth $177 billion, Elon Musk – worth $151 billion, Bernard Arnault – worth $150 billion, Bill Gates – worth $124 billion, Mark Zuckerberg – worth $97 billion, Warren Buffet – worth $96 billion, Larry Ellison – worth $93 billion, Larry Page – worth $91.5 billion, Sergey Brin – worth $89 billion, and Mukesh Ambani – worth – $84.5 billion.

And for a few days in June 2021, we could have added one more name to the list. That would be James Darren, a 47-year-old realtor and former law enforcement officer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. For a mere four days in June he and his wife had a net worth of just over $50 billion.

What did he do to make so much money? Nothing. We’re not sure of the cause – whether by a clerical error or the efforts of a hacker. But the Chase Bank mistakenly deposited $50 billion into their account. Knowing that he and his wife had no rich relatives or friends, James Darren immediately contacted Chase Bank to inform them of the apparent mistake. Yet Chase didn’t fix the glitch until four days later. Until that time, a huge fortune sat in their bank account.

Did they ever think of a scheme to hold onto the money – as a Sheriff’s dispatcher in New Orleans had tried to do with $1.2 million that was mistakenly deposited in her account? No. Darren and his wife knew the money wasn’t theirs. They hadn’t earned it. So, during those four days, they viewed their account as “near empty” – the state in which it typically remained.

This is not to say that Darren and his wife hadn’t given any thought to what they could do with $50 billion. In an interview, James Darren cited the recent report of a customer in New Hampshire who left his waitress a $16,000 tip and stated he’d like to be able to do things like that. He explained that he loves being a blessing to others. According to James, if he truly was a billionaire, one of his first objectives would be to build a children’s hospital. But, as he acknowledged from the start, the money wasn’t his to give away.

You know, as Christian believers, even when we possess this world’s wealth, we need to have the same attitude as Darren and his wife. The wealth we own isn’t ours, but the Lord’s. We are only stewards of what God places into our care. And we have a responsibility before God to use these resources to fulfill our Christian obligations. This obviously includes providing for the needs of our families (1 Timothy 5:4). The husband and father who fails to do this has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8). I believe this obligation outweighs giving to the church and to charitable causes (See Matthew 15:3-9).

And as James Darren and his wife looked upon that $50 billion in their bank account as fleeting, so should we view whatever material wealth we have. The Darrens knew it was just a matter of days or minutes before their “nest egg” disappeared. Therefore, they put no faith in it. The articles I read made no reference to the Darrens’ religious beliefs. But, if they are Christian believers they’d understand that this world and all its treasures are passing away. As Paul explained, “the time is short. From now on those …. who buy something should live as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away” (1 Corinthians 7:29-31).

And because the time is short, we should make the most of it and devote it and our resources to God’s eternal purposes (Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5). This is the only way we can take what is transitory and make it eternal. As missionary and martyr, Jim Elliott wrote, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose” (e.g. Mark 10:21).


PRAYER:  Dear Father in heaven, yes, I would love to possess the wealth of this world so that I could be a blessing to others. But You have ordained that I possess little. So, dear Father, help me to be faithful with what is little – faithfully laboring to provide for my family and to support Your soul-redeeming work on earth. Remind me, O God, that through Your holy Son, Jesus Christ, I am an heir to all the things which money cannot buy – my name written in heaven and the gift of eternal life. Amen.



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