According to Forbes.com the richest man in the world is Bill Gates with a net worth of 72 billion dollars.
My net worth in comparison would be closer to $72.00 than 72 billion so does that mean I am less valuable in the eyes of God?
According to Luke 12: 6-7 (ESV) Jesus said: “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
That verse was for Bill Gates and for me. We’re both of more value than many sparrows. There is not one scripture in the Bible that says, in God’s eyes, a wealthy man is worth more sparrows than a poor one. I believe, in God’s eyes, Bill Gates and I are worth the same number of sparrows.
But Bill Gates is able to give so much more to help others than I am. Does that mean he is worth more to God?
It is true that Bill and his wife, Melinda have done a great deal to help the people of the world. They have a site online where organizations can apply for grants. Many of the recent grants awarded have gone to organizations that promote global health or global development. Known as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this organization has given away 28 billion dollars!
My husband and I are part of a program where we help support a child in Africa with a monthly amount. It’s not a large amount but we love the child we sponsor and are glad to help. We also tithe at a church that has a food bank and there are some other organizations and charities we give to on a regular basis. Though my husband and I make an effort, it is minuscule in comparison to the efforts of the Gate’s. Does this mean God looks on what we do with less favor?
The answer can be found in the 25th chapter of Matthew where Jesus tells a parable about a rich man who went on a journey and left his servants in charge of some of his money. Some were left with more to work with than others. After being gone a long time, the rich man came back. He asked them about the “talents” he left with them. (A talent signifies about twenty years of wages for a laborer according to the ESV. ) I found this part especially interesting.
(Matthew 25: 19-23. ESV)
“Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, “Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, “Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”
Granted, the difference between two talents and five talents is not as large as the difference between what Mr. Gates and I have to work with but I believe the comparison is justified. Notice how the rich man in the parable did not differentiate between the servants at all? Though the servant with two talents did not have as much to give back as the one with five talents, they were treated the same by their master.
God knows what he has given each of us. He does not measure me against Bill Gates. He looks to see what I have done according to what He has given me.
But Bill Gates is working to eradicate polio! In an interview by Bill Tweedie of The Telegraph, Gates spoke of the Golden Rule and how ridding the world of polio is “God’s work.”
How can I compare with that–even in God’s eyes?
In Isaiah 10:58, the Bible (ESV) tells us this: “If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”
There is no comparison between the rich and not-so-rich in those verses. Does Bill Gates pour himself out for the hungry and afflicted? Yes. Do I? Yes.
The important thing to remember is this: The promises of God and His blessings are for all His children–the rich and the poor. So, how can we know if we are the children of God? Though it is popular today to say that we are all children of God, the Bible is clear on the matter. We are told in Galations 3:28:
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”
(If you would like to learn more about who are the children of God, here is a good article with a lot of scripture to back it up.)
That last scripture reference helps to explain something else too. Being a child of God has nothing to do with how much you give to the poor or how many good things you do. Many seem to believe that in the final accounting, their good will outweigh their bad.
However, Jesus said He is the only way to God. In John 14:5, Thomas asks Jesus how they can know the way to go to be with Him. Jesus said to him in verse 6: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
So, we cannot count on our gifts, tithes or riches to make a path to God for us. It doesn’t matter if our name is Bill Gates or Oprah or if we discovered the cure for cancer. Those are not the standards God uses to determine if we are His children. It is only through Jesus we become the children of God.
The conclusion of the matter comes down to this then: To be a child of God, I need Jesus, you need Jesus and Bill Gates needs Jesus. According to God’s word, In that respect, we are all the same.