Sunday, February 10, 2013

"It Must Be The Money!"

Ahhhh! Money! 

So much has been said about the topic of money that I can't really add much too it; other than, money will probably the biggest reason why many will not enter the kingdom of God.

Since we were kids, the main topic has been money and how we can gain as much of it as possible. We are told we must work hard, exercise, study and learn about life as much as possible in order to achieve success. For the most part, success is measure by the amount of money we can earn or attain.

Sadly, as we get closer to the return of Jesus Christ (we are told in the Bible), life will become more difficult than we can imagine. Already, doomsday prophets (both Christian and secular) are saying (on the Internet, television and from the pulpits) that humanity is headed towards the worst time in history. They quote from MSN news reports, connecting many of those news stories to particular scripture. And many of these folks are actually making tons and tons of money by selling their books and life-saving paraphernalia through fear-mongering techniques. We really can't argue too much about these reports, because (as we can clearly see by the plethora of earthquakes in diverse places, wars and rumors of wars and natural catastrophes such Hurricane Sandy and Katrina, and most recently the frozen spear in the Northeast as we witnessed Nemo do its thing.

However, my concern is not so much about those anomalies, but the negative affect that money (or lack thereof) is having on millions of individuals and families throughout the world. Obviously, there are many that have barely enough to feed their children, and probably tens of millions that have none at all.

As Christians, we have been taught what money represents in the world, and that we should be good stewards of what money we do have. Meaning, how do we use those funds and the impact (both positive and or negatively) if not measured out judiciously. We are first told that the love of money is the root of all evil, and (more importantly) to keep our lives free from the love of money and be content with what we have. This is great advice!

Unfortunately, many Christians are not good stewards of the money they earn (or win or inherit) and find themselves foolishly using money and its power on acts that actually go against God's will. Most certainly, many folks do have a natural IQ and have been trained for handling funds. Many have inbred traits that sees them spending money like it was going out of style, never taking into consideration that although we have been blessed with good jobs and/or have married someone who contributes greatly to the family household, God's will requires a good steward to manage the household income. 
What is a good steward? He or she is the manager of household or of household affairs, to whom the head of the house or proprietor (actually God, who is completely responsible for our source of income) has entrusted the management of those affairs, the care of receipts and expenditures, and the duty of dealing out the proper portion to every servant and even to the children not yet of age. There are many wise stewards among most families. However, there are also many unwise stewards who may not be aware they are handling the family income in a wayward fashion, one who does not expend funds in a manner that is not only not pleasing to God, but actually abnegates the formula that God has put in place. That formula has been given to us when God stated in Galatians 6:7, "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man (or woman) reaps what he sows!" Some folks call it Karma! Either meaning, God's most immutable law deals with reaping what we sow. 

Let me say it this point in time, I am not speaking a "prosperity gospel" doctrine here, where many preachers put pressure on their flock that the more you give to the church the more you will get in return. I'm dealing specifically with using the money God gives you to bless those who are truly in need, which could mean your next door neighbor! We are told in more exact detail and in explicit context in the first ten verses of Galatians 6, therefore, we cannot apply any another meaning to this group of scripture:

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load. 6 Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.

7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers,(
Galatians 6:1-10). 
Now, whereas verse six above addresses that we should share all good things with their Bible instructor, the good steward knows that there are more immediate needs among the poor in their own neighborhood. The good pastor is one that factors the needs of those folks and should thereby have a church program in place that provides food and shelter for the poor in their respective communities, not just in missions across the world.

But, again, we are primarily dealing with the stewards in our own homes. I speak of the man of the house who finds himself using his funds to buy that new set of golf clubs, rather using those funds to feed and care for the poor. I speak of the father who gives in to the pressure by his children to buy them that new electronic toy of the day, rather than taking his kids to a local homeless shelter and showing them the need that exists in their community and thereby showing them one of the main principles of God. 
Sadly, too often we see where parents spend an over abundance of money on things of beauty such as flashy cars, beautiful homes, clothing, jewelry, etc. And then there are those who dole out enormous funds on their kids solely to ingratiate themselves to their children, which, to a degree, means they in essence are committing the sin of idolatry, putting them even above God who provided them with the talent, ability and opportunity to earn the money they have been entrusted with. Too often, parents forget that our role as parents means to train a child in the ways of the Lord, and fail to take advantage of an opportunity to share with them how God's sowing and reaping formula works. The lesson they should learn is not to use God's formula to gain more money, but that God does bless the happy giver!

I suspect there will be many doubters concerning this message; but God does not lie; it's simply that we do not have the faith that can move mountains, nor do we handle our funds based and motivated more so by the fruit of the Holy Spirit:

" But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other, (Galatians 5:22-26)."

Remember, we will not be judged for our sins because we now have access to the Holy Spirit by virtue of believing that Christ paid the price for our salvation. Many will claim they have attained monetary success by virtue of fame, fortune and material gains they have made. God's words tell us otherwise:

10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames,
(1 Corinthians 3:10-15)."

Therefore, to seek first the Kingdom of God (knowing that all things will be added to us) will result in greater reward than those we expend on ourselves. While we feel the need to manage our funds on those things that bring instant pleasure and praise, we not only miss out on the daily blessings God provides His good stewards, we also will miss out on the greater rewards when we place others before ourselves, as we fulfill His will to take care of the less fortunate. What is God's formula for being a good steward, the true formula for gaining success with the funds He provides you with?

6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:

They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”

10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift, (2 Corinthians 9:6-15)!"

Click here to see it, "Must Be The Money"
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1 comment:

  1. I ran into your eye-catching blog with its fascinating topic - money - and offer these comments: Any reader of your good blog knows what you think about the pretribulation rapture. And we all know how inconsistent and hypocritical many pretrib rapture teachers are. One minute they're saying that their "imminent" rapture can happen, without warning, at any moment. And the next minute they're asking for money for their long-range plans.
    But here is a point about money I've never heard anyone else bring up: Several well-known pretrib rapture teachers have made millions of dollars with their mega-selling books. If they're right and a pretrib rapture happens, aren't they really working for the Antichrist and his followers? After all, the only ones "left behind" would be unbelievers who would have chosen to follow the Antichrist since they hadn't chosen Christ earlier. Since pretrib teachers don't believe they can take their millions with them in a rapture, aren't they really making money that the Antichrist will have power over? Aren't they really, in a sense, serving the Antichrist right now if the rapture they're looking for is really as "imminent" as they claim?
    As the saying goes, "A person's actions are so loud it's hard to hear what he's saying." If pretrib teachers and promoters really, really, really believe the rapture is as soon as they claim it is, shouldn't they be giving their millions away right now to help out the poor and needy? By storing up more and more money for selfish purposes, pretrib teachers seem to be earning money far more for a soon-to-appear Antichrist than for Christ right now!