The story is told of a very generous farmer. Approached by his friends one day, they asked him, “We don’t understand you. You give more than the rest of us, but you always seem to prosper more than us. How is that?” The farmer replied, “I keep shoveling into God’s bin, and God keeps shoveling more and more into mine, and God has the bigger shovel.”
James Reston was a syndicated columnist for the New York Times for more than thirty years. In his final column for the newspaper, he wrote: “In America, we have learned something about how to deal with adversity since the great Depression, but not much about how to deal with prosperity. We are very rich, but we are not having a very good time. We are producing so much food that we don’t know what to do with the garbage, while half of the human race goes to bed hungry every night.
Humans have a great difficulty of learning to live when prosperous. It doesn’t always bring out the best in us. The book of Amos is interesting in that a modest sheepherder from Tekoa (a province in Judah) is sent into Israel to teach them about how they, as wealthy citizens, are treating the poor in Israel. It is, in a sense, the “country boy” being sent to tell the “city folk” how things are going wrong. Amos has his work cut out for him. One can imagine the attitudes that he would be facing as he strolls into a country that under Jeroboam II (considered an evil king) was expanding its borders back to what it was before captivity, and was finding itself to be richer and richer.
It raises questions to us as Christians. “What is my attitude whether l am in a time of poverty, or prosperity?” “Do I treat people the same?” If I am in a time of prosperity, am I being generous and showing God’s love to others around me?” It is concerning that we seem to wander away from God when things are going well and only find ourselves running back to Him when things take a turn for the worst. If things are going good today, why not find time to thank Him, and be generous to someone today.