After 45 Years, Life’s Still Too Short To Worry About Wealth

1976 was the bicentennial year for the United States. It was also year number one of recovery from a three-year recession, during which 2.3 million Americans lost their jobs. This was a post-World War II record, which only punctuated the impact felt by tens of millions of people.

Prior to this, unparalleled economic opportunity was experienced by many in these United States. A building boom paired with a burgeoning manufacturing industry meant jobs were nearly falling from the sky. Whether it was building cars, picking up trash or selling groceries, money could be made doing nearly anything.

But those days were beginning to fade as the world economy was slowly turning over. As economic possibilities vanished, making a living for the American worker was getting harder and harder.

Barnabas Foundation came into existence amidst the swirl of this global economic stew. With a resolve to resist the white-knuckle impulse, the founders sought to leverage planned giving as a means for living freely before God. Often overlooked and misunderstood, planned gifts are taken from the largest pool of wealth for most people — their non-cash assets. Because these gifts come from estates, businesses, real estate, stock, etc., they are almost always larger than cash gifts. Often, this makes them the ultimate, earthly expression of generosity.

Perhaps Barnabas Foundation’s founders had Psalm 39:6 in mind: “Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom. In vain they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be.” (NIV).

Coveting other people’s wealth (or just wealth, period) reduces our living down to an endless scramble to “get mine.” There’s almost no idea about what the actual point of personal wealth is — other than for stockpiling it. 

Barnabas Foundation seeks to turn back the tide of covetous living by keeping wealth in its place. This means joining the psalm writer in busting the myth of the pot-of-gold. It doesn’t exist—and never did. And because it can’t be found, it’s impossible to soak in the satisfaction and meaning from wealth alone.

The bottom line is life’s too short to spend on the end of a leash held by wealth. The visionaries at Barnabas Foundation were convinced of it. They also knew planned giving and its potential for powerfully expressing freedom from wealth’s rule. But most of all, they understood that when wealth is properly placed, so too is our worship.

It’s exactly the psalm writer’s conclusion: “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.” (Psalm 39:7, NIV)

Barnabas Foundation began from this conviction 45 years ago and since then over $800 million have been given to Kingdom causes through its ministry.

I know. It’s staggering.

But that was then and this is now. Anyone with the next 45, 25, 15, or 5 years ahead of them still has to decide whether or not life’s too short to worry about wealth.

If it’s not, keep looking for that pot of gold. If it is, what’s the plan for your wealth?