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TITLE: RICHES AND RESPONSIBILITY
Subtitle: What Does God's Word Say About Preachers Who Promote The Desire To Be Rich?
In chapter six of the Book of First Timothy, the Apostle Paul launches into the following discourse: (based on the premise of Christian slaves being obedient to their masters)
 "...Teach and urge these duties.  But if any one teaches otherwise and does not assent to the sound and wholesome messages of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and the teaching which is in agreement with godliness -- piety toward God-- He is puffed up with pride and stupefied with conceit, [although he is] woefully ignorant. He has a morbid fondness for controversy and disputes and strife about words, which result in (producing) envy and jealousy, quarrels and dissension, abuse and insults and slander, and base suspicions.  And protracted wrangling and wearing discussion and perpetual friction among 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.  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" 1 Timothy 6:2b-10 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible commentary, emphasis mine).
Then a few verses later, additional comments are made to those Christians whom God has seen fit to bless with the riches of this world:
"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;  [Charge them] to do good, to be rich in good works, to be liberal and generous-hearted, ready to share [with others],  In this way laying up for themselve [the riches that endure forever] a good foundation for the future, so that they may grasp that which is life indeed" 1 Timothy 6:17-19 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible commentary, emphasis mine).
So the first thing we need to understand is that those who say "money is the root of all evil" are misquoting Scripture! The love of money is the problem--not money itself. Having sufficient funds to meet our needs is a great blessing from God, but we err grievously if we express dissatisfaction with the level of His provision by desiring to be rich!!!! Our Sovereign God does not give each of us the same "working capital" as we see from the following parable:
"For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.  And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey" Matthew 25:14-15 (KJV).
In terms of New Testament coinage, the "talent" was worth 6000 denarii--quite a sum of money, when we take into consideration that 1 denarius was a day's pay for a common laborer. So one of the servants was entrusted with the responsibility of a single talent, another twice as much and the third, five times as much as the first. And notice the criteria for the amount being given--"every man according to his several ability." In other words, the master was well aware of their relative level of competence and funded them accordingly--with the reasonable expectation they would invest it wisely and bring him gain.
The application of this parable to Christians is obvious: our Lord has infinite knowledge of our strengths and weaknesses and He assigns tasks based largely upon our willingness to serve. Many believers have God-given abilities far beyond their determination to use them and thus their overall achievement for the cause of Christ is far less than it might have been otherwise. And, sad to say, many of these same brethren often spend their lives "from hand to mouth" barely making ends meet financially because God will not answer their prayers for money! Why? Very often it is because of the following:
"...You do not have because you do not ask.  [Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is, [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures" James 4:2b-3 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible commentary, emphasis mine).
The very first article I wrote for "From A Pastor's Heart" (The Best Kept Secret In The World) was on the subject of stewardship (www.cuttingedge.org/articles/p112.htm). And in the article I tried my best to point out to brothers and sisters in Christ that we must first learn to give if we are to receive! Then when we do receive, it is not always material in nature. How can one put a monetary value on good health or a restful night's sleep? Listen to me folks, God has nowhere made a single promise to Christians that we can be rich by praying for it or following some sort of formula. Ungodly charlatans continue to mislead many sheep by teaching them they should claim promises God made to Old Testament Israel--promises relative to material blessings which were conditional. Obedience brought blessings, but disobedience brought judgment. And not a one of those conditional promises was ever made to the New Testament Church.
Our Sovereign God allows each of His children to earn money to the degree He chooses. And as a young man I learned the hard way that out-go would continue to exceed in-come as long as I persisted in cheating God out His due. The "tithe" demanded of an Old Testament Jew, when all was said and done, came close to being 15% of their total income. And, no, before you raise the objection--the tithe is not required of Christians. But why should we think God will be pleased with anything less--especially if we are capable of giving it?
Oh, I feel a sermon coming on!!!
I can almost hear the anguished wails of many who have just read this and adamantly reject the premise! "But, but,.....but I can't afford it," they sputter! Beloved, the bottom line is that you cannot afford not to do it. God is going to "get His" one way or the other and the primary reason so many believers are forced to scrape out a meager existence is due to poor (or more often than not, non-existent) stewardship.
I cringe when I see congregations resort to bake sales, car washes, and a myriad of other attempts at raising money when the truth of the matter is that they do not have enough faith to practice proper stewardship. And when they do raise a little money, they usually blow it on totally unnecessary projects like "Family Life Centers," etc., and wind up neglecting missionaries who could put it to good use in spreading the Gospel message to the ends of the earth.
So my question is this: when are you going to quit listening to those who make phony offers of "pie in the sky in the sweet bye and bye" (often lining their own pockets in the process)--and start treating God with the respect a steward should exhibit.
"Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful" 1 Cor. 4:2 (KJV).
As I pointed out in the article The Best Kept Secret In The World , a steward during Old Testament times lived essentially the same life-style as the master. And as long as he took proper care of the master's estate, he was afforded a comfortable living. But if he was found to be unfaithful, he was discharged and sent back to the duties of a common servant.
Some reading this have been reduced to living off the crumbs falling from the Master's table because you have been unfaithful. And the only way you will ever be reinstated to the position of steward is to determine that by faith you will make the most of what you have. But be advised here is no way you can sit down and make a budget where proper stewardship is concerned--because the numbers will not add up! God expects you (and me) to give first and depend upon Him to stretch what is left to fit our needs. That requires both faith and a desire to please Him in all things. Attitude must match action, because doing the right thing in the wrong way will avail you nothing.
"Let each one [give] as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, for God loves (that is, He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, prompt-to-do-it) giver--whose heart is in his giving" 2 Corinthians 9:7 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible commentary).
So are you going to fish or cut bait? If you have been complaining about how hard it is to make a living, the chances are excellent you are to blame. And even though it is taken from the Old Testament, the following passage is a very good explanation of the principle behind the problem:
"Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings" Malachi 3:8 (KJV, emphasis mine).
And just when you think the ultimate in personal sacrifice would involve giving ten percent or so, please be advised offerings were voluntary--over and above the required tithe! "Oh, my--you've got to be kidding me!" No, I am dead serious and trying to get your attention.
I can cite literally hundreds of believers whom I have known over the years (many now deceased) who will (or would) testify to the fact that God blesses those who will do right by Him.
"I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. Psalm 37:25 (KJV).
If you truly are a child of God, I can point out with full assurance that as bad as finances may be in your case--you have not been reduced to begging for your next meal. State assistance, soup kitchens, or providential intervention will keep you from having to beg door to door. God still provides for His own, but His blessings abound to those who give of their time, talent, and treasury to His work. I urge you to pray about this matter and take that first step of faith by giving back to Him a goodly portion of that which He is just allowing you to use. As a child of grace, everything you have belongs to Him. And I know from personal experience.the sooner you realize this fact and begin to practice good stewardship, the better off you will be--both financially and spiritually.
If you have been born again and received 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 placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, but have come to sense His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to receive His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you truly believe in Him as Lord and 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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