If you had a million dollars …

What would you do if you had a million dollars?

That’s a fun “what if” game most of us like to play, pondering all the good we could do, all the fun we might have, all the contributions we could make—if we had a million dollars.

The game is premised on the faulty logic that we surely could do more with a million dollars than we could with whatever dollars we actually have. It implies some imaginary threshold out there, beyond which we would suddenly have the freedom to think about money differently and to use money differently.

Folks who actually have a million dollars might tell you it’s not that simple. In fact, they feel the same constraints as the rest of us, only sometimes on a greater scale. Think about how you fret and fear about taking care of whatever amount of money you have. Then multiply that sense of responsibility—or fear of screwing up—by a factor of 20.

A person with a million dollars and a person with $10,000 both face the same fundamental question: How might I be the best steward of the resources I have?

Which leads me to ask: What makes you think you’d do something more noble with a million dollars than you’re doing with whatever you have now?

There’s a lot of good to be done in the world for the sake of God’s kingdom, and most of it doesn’t require a millionaire’s touch. Don’t underestimate the power of consistent giving of even small amounts over a long period of time. That’s what fuels the church’s mission and ministries. Let’s say you earn $50,000 a year and over a 40-year period faithfully tithe to God’s work: $5,000 a year for 40 years. That’s a $200,000 contribution—double the tithe of someone who inherits a million dollars.

What are you doing with what you’ve got?

Mark Wingfield

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About the Author
Mark Wingfield is associate pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, and author of the book, “Staying Alive: Why the Conventional Wisdom about Traditional Churches is Wrong.”

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