TITLE: CHRISTIANS AND WEALTH

Subtitle: Is It Wrong For A Christian To Be Rich?

I highly recommend money because it is a commodity that is pretty difficult to live without! And contrary to what many Christians believe, money is definitely not the root of all evil. "Pastor Ron, you have definitely flipped your cork because the Bible does say that money is the root of all evil!" I beg your pudding it does not! First Timothy 6:10 says:

"For the LOVE of money is a root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have been led astray, and have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves through with many acute [mental] pangs" (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary, emphasis mine).

You see, money is a necessary part of life and is certainly not intrinsically bad or good. Itís one of the many "things" in the life of a Christian that the Lord actually owns, but allows us to use as His stewards. When we properly utilize the "things" that He places at our disposal, and maintain the proper attitude toward them, He very often multiplies them. It is when we adopt the wrong attitude toward "things" that we get in trouble. If we allow ourselves to develop a love an inordinate desire for these "things", it (the love the inordinate desire) becomes sinful. Again, money and other material things are not sinful in and of themselves. Actually, they are quite nice and if we behave ourselves and practice good stewardship God just might see fit to allow us to use some of His! But let me hasten to say that there are no guarantees. The "prosperity gospel" that some have been preaching is as phony and bogus as a three dollar bill. It is a fact that God promised the Old Testament Jew financial and spiritual prosperity, but both were predicated upon their obedience to Him. Nowhere will you find anything resembling this promised to Christians this side of heaven. As a matter of fact, we are plainly told that our walk with Christ will be hard and the closer we try to walk with Him, the rougher it will get. Christianity is absolutely unique among the religions of the world in this respect.

In 2 Timothy 3:12, it says this: "Indeed all who delight in piety and are determined to live a devoted and godly life in Christ Jesus will meet with persecution that is, will be made to suffer because of their religious stand" (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary).

While it is true that wealth is a blessing from God, poverty should not be seen conversely as Godís disfavor because, in a sense, poverty relieves the individual from tremendous responsibility. Luke 12:48b says, " to whom much is given, of him shall much be required " Since New Testament teaching has quite a bit to say about what our attitude should be toward the things God has entrusted to our care, letís take a closer look.

In His parable of the "Seed and the Sower", the Lord in Luke chapter 8 and verse 14 has this to say about the seed which fell among the thorns:

"And as for what fell among the thorns, these are [the people] who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked and suffocated with the anxieties and cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not ripen come to maturity and perfection" (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary).

In verse 11 the Lord tells us that the seed is the Word of God and when people hear it and allow the anxieties, cares, riches, and pleasures of this life to dilute its message, they fail to mature in the faith. As Christians, Godís Word must be more precious to us than anything this world has to offer, if we are to make any progress in our walk with Christ.

In Matthew 6:19-21, the Lord has this to say about earthly "treasures": "Do not gather and heap up and store for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust and worm consume and destroy, and where thieves break through and steal; but gather and heap up and store for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust, nor worm consume and destroy, and where thieves do not break through and steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary).

Eternity is forever (!) and it would be foolish beyond our ability to express it to sacrifice any of the treasures of heaven for the pitiful "things" of this earth. But this is precisely what many Christians routinely do when they allow themselves to be enamored with material things. I am convinced that our sovereign God assigns each of us to our relative station in life our financial and material status, along with the correlated abilities (or lack of abilities) pertinent to that position. Letís face it not all of us have the intellect or the ability to amass wealth and handle it properly. Some do and praise God for their being able to enjoy the fruits of their labors. Other brethren do the best they can, but spend their entire lives struggling to feed and clothe themselves. True happiness and spiritual contentment are experienced when we realize what our respective niche in life is and then just do the best that we can as long as we can! Where we get into trouble is when we are not satisfied with Godís provision and covet more than He knows is best for us. Ambition and the desire for advancement are only natural and not wrong as long as we do not force the issue. If God wants us to advance in our jobs and make more money, He will see to it that these things happen.

As He opens the "doors" we will be able to walk through them. Unfortunately, many Christians do not understand this and have bloody noses from trying to walk through closed doors! This is underscored by the words of Christ in Luke 12:15: "And He said to them, Guard yourselves and keep free from all covetousness the immoderate desire for wealth, the greedy longing to have more; for a manís life does not consist and is not derived from possessing overflowing abundance, or that which is over and above his needs" (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary).

The underlying spiritual danger associated with money and possessions is that they may easily become idols in our lives. I trust you realize that an idol does not have to be some sort of figure made of wood or stone sitting in a temple, surrounded by worshippers. No, an idol is anything that we allow to come between our God and us! He demands our total allegiance, just as a husband and wife demand it of each other. When our love and attention is drawn to anything or anyone other than God, He is offended and we should understand why.

This concept is outlined in Matthew 6:24: "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise and be against the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [that is, deceitful riches, money, possessions or what is trusted in]" (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary).

The apostle Paul had quite a bit to say about money and material things, and in his first letter to Timothy he cautions Christians and particularly preachers against the misuse of them. In 1 Timothy 6 we start our reading in the middle of verse 5 and continue through verse 9, then to verse 17:

" men who are corrupted in mind and bereft of the truth, who imagine that godliness or righteousness is a source of profit a money-making business, a means of livelihood. From such withdraw. [And it is, indeed, a source of immense profit, for] godliness, accompanied with contentment that contentment which is a sense of inward sufficiency is great and abundant gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and obviously we cannot take anything out of the world; But if we have food and clothing, with these we shall be content (satisfied). But those who crave to be rich, fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish (useless, godless) and hurtful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction and miserable perishing."

" As for the rich in this world, charge them not to be proud and arrogant and contemptuous of others, nor to set their hopes on uncertain riches but on God, Who richly and ceaselessly provides us with everything for [our] enjoyment" (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary, emphasis mine).

Our society is one in which a premium is placed upon wealth and material things. People are classified socially according to their income: lower class middle class upper class, or some variation thereof. We are being constantly bombarded with advertising propaganda that is designed to appeal to the desire to better oneself and "climb the social ladder". It has become so much a part of everyday reality, that it is known as "keeping up with the Jonesí"! One particular advertising ploy that I have noticed lately is the recurring theme of "You deserve " or " You owe it to yourself " The professional advertising agencies know human nature and they skillfully use it to promote their products and services. We sinful creatures have a built-in weakness for pleasure and "things" and they exploit it for their own financial gain! As Christians, we must constantly be on guard against this urge to possess and gain social status as well as those who will take full advantage of it.

It is also heartbreaking to learn of Christians who do not have the will-power to practice proper stewardship over what God has given them. The desire to have and get and use has grown to such a degree that millions are hopelessly in debt and some Christians are certainly among them. Satan has allowed easy credit to ruin the testimonies of countless Christians across the land and it is not getting any better. Nobody should ever go in debt beyond their ability to pay bac and especially those who name the name of Christ. To do so is to bring reproach upon yourself and your Lord. Those little plastic cards are awfully easy to come by, but they sure can act like a narcotic to some people and the first thing you know the interest begins to pile up. Those who would never dream of gambling get in debt just as deeply with credit cards and we must ask what is the essential difference? Owing what you cannot pay back is wrong and sinful if your lack of self-control caused the debt. When we consider the fact that we are the Lordís stewards and are misusing His money, it should put things in proper perspective.

My advice to you is that if you are in debt, get out of debt just as quickly as humanly possible even if it means selling some of the "things" that got you there. (Mortgages and other debts of that nature are not what we are talking about because they are backed by collateral) When faced with insurmountable debt, the easy way out is to declare bankruptcy and leave the creditors hanging. But God forbid that any Christian would ever do such a thing! Yes, itís legal, but it sure is not ethical. If you are facing such a situation, please do the right thing and try to work with your creditors about repayment even if it takes the rest of your life working at two other jobs! They did not twist your arm and make you pile up the debt and the least that you can do is make an honest effort to repay them. To do otherwise is to completely lose your testimony for Christ and bring shame upon His name.

The Holy Spirit speaking through the pen of the apostle Paul, has this wonderful advice for us: "[And it is, indeed, a source of immense profit, for] godliness accompanied with contentment that contentment which is a sense of inward sufficiency is great and abundant gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and obviously we cannot take anything out of the world; But if we have food and clothing, with these we shall be content (satisfied). But those who crave to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish (useless, godless) and hurtful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction and miserable perishing" (1 Timothy 6:6-9, Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary).

When our lifeís emphasis is rightly placed upon godliness, personal contentment will be one of the wonderful by-products. After all, what could possibly be better than having our needs met and being able to sleep with a clear conscience? Think about it.

 

If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.

 If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, but have come to realize His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to accept His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can also do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you accept Him as Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.

We hope you have been blessed by this ministry, which seeks to educate and warn people, so that they can see the coming New World Order -- Kingdom of Antichrist -- in their daily news.

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