Nov. 26Money IssuesComments Off on How to Survive A Bad Economy
When faced with a bad economy, we can be tempted to feel insecure and we can become unsure of what the future holds for us.
In a bad economy our job security; our lifestyle and our ability to save & invest are threatened.
Therefore here are a few ways in which Christians can respond when the economy is less than ideal
1. Spend Less Than You Earn
Do not over-spend and do not spend more money than you actually earn. Proverbs 21:20 – There is desirable treasure, And oil in the dwelling of the wise, But a foolish man squanders it.
2. Avoid Getting Into Debt
When the economy is bad, it’s a bad time to borrow a lot of money. However, if you feel that you must borrow – then borrow money that you know you can easily return. Proverbs 22:7 – The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender.
3. Don’t Be Lazy
If you’re struggling to find a job – then start a business. Turn your talents, your gifts & your skills into a project or a business that can earn you some income. Proverbs 18:16 – A man’s gift makes room for him, And brings him before great men. Proverbs 12:27 – The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, But diligence is man’s precious possession.
4. Save Some Money
Whether in a good economy or in a bad economy, it’s always important to save some money. Whilst it might be hard to save in an already difficult environment – saving is still an important discipline because your savings may help you when you most need them. Proverbs 6:6-8 – Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest.
5. Trust in the Lord
Through any situation that we go in life, it’s important to walk by faith and not by sight. It’s therefore important to trust God and believe that in spite of the difficult environment, God still has plans to prosper us and not to harm us and that God will supply all our needs according to His riches. Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
Jun. 06Money IssuesComments Off on How Can I Be Rich Toward God?
Luke 12:15-21 NKJV And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” 16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”‘ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ 21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
Most of the time we focus so much on how we can be rich for ourselves, that we do not stop and think about how we can be rich towards the Lord.
In Luke 12:15-21, Jesus tells us the parable of the Rich Fool who planned to build bigger barns and to store more crops for himself. However, God responds by ending the Rich Fool’s life because this man was not “rich toward God”.
How can a person be rich toward God? What does the phrase “rich toward God” mean?
The Rich Fool’s Problem
He already had enough wealth (vs 16), but he was motivated by greed (vs 18)
He thought that his security was in his accomplishments & in his wealth instead of God (vs 19)
He planned to be unproductive for the rest of his life by gratifying his fleshly desires (vs 19)
He did not realize that what he owned was only temporary wealth and of no use to him when he dies (vs 20)
He laid up treasure for himself and was not rich toward God (vs 21)
Should I Be Rich Toward Myself?
In life many motivational books exist in the book stores that teach us to think and grow rich; or to live our best life now; or how to be a millionaire. However, most of these type of motivational books focus on self-achievement rather than on achieving the perfect individual will of God for a person. Such books do not help a person to seek God but they encourage covetousness and greed and to presume that obtaining worldly wealth is a reflection of one’s spiritual maturity.
The world systems persuade us to live our lives by living towards the goal of enriching ourselves. Therefore the world wants us to lay up treasures for ourselves and be rich towards ourselves. However Romans 12:2 tells us that we should not be conformed to the standards or teachings of this world.
Luke 12:15 – And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”
There is more to life than the pursuit of worldly wealth & possessions. Jesus tells us that our status in life or the quality of our life cannot be measured by our wealth or possessions. Our quality of life instead is measured only by God and how God Himself sees us.
How Can I Be Rich Toward God?
We are rich towards God when we do the opposite of what the Rich Fool was thinking
We are rich toward God when give our income / finance into the things of God such as giving our church offerings or donating our funds to God-centred ministries. The Rich Fool planned to invest his money only on himself and he had no spiritual plans for his money.
We are rich toward God when we invest our time & energy into doing the work and will of God for our lives and for the edification of others. The Rich Fool only planned to retire and to spend the rest of his life eating, drinking and gratifying his fleshly desires instead of growing his relationship with God.
We are rich toward God when we use earthly riches to show how much we value God. God was not included in the Rich Man’s plans. The word “I” is mentioned 6 times by the Rich Fool to emphasize that the Rich Fool was conceited and that he only thought of himself.
We are rich toward God when we realize that our security is in God and that God Himself is our treasure and He is our riches. The Rich Fool thought that his security for the rest of his years would be found in his business investment. He was wrong. Only God is our security and without God we are not rich.
In your personal life, what are you seeking? Are you seeking the gift instead of the Giver? Are you seeking to be rich toward yourself or are you seeking to be rich toward God?
Sep. 18Money IssuesComments Off on What Does The Prosperity Gospel Teach?
What does the prosperity gospel teach? This popular but false doctrine survives & grows by taking advantage of the financially desperate, the self-ambitious, the greedy, and the spiritually deceived with the promise that those who obey its subtle but twisted doctrines will one day amass material riches, material wealth and self-fulfilment in life.
However, even the scripture is clear that money does not satisfy and fulfillment cannot be found by the pursuit of money or wealth. (Ecclesiastes 5:10 ESV – He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity) Another important note is that: just because the prosperity doctrine has been made popular by charismatic and influential prosperity preachers it does not mean that this doctrine is true and sound. The Bible is clear that many people will be deceived by many false prophets and that many people will not endure sound teaching. (Matthew 24:11 NKJV – Then MANY false prophets will rise up and deceive MANY.)
Therefore in Part 1 and Part 2 of this article you will discover what the word of God actually teaches about the pursuit of riches and about the false doctrine known as the prosperity gospel.
Matthew 6:24 (Jesus speaking) “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
Since the prosperity preachers encourage that the pursuit of worldly wealth and riches on this earth is a good thing for every Christian to do – then why did the devil use the prospect of acquiring the same wealth & the same riches to tempt the Lord Jesus to worship him? The reason is even the devil knows that a man cannot serve both God and money and even the devil knows that the pursuit of money leads to all kinds of evil.
In 1 Timothy 6:5,9-11Paul warned Timothy about such men like prosperity gospel preachers. Paul said that these men who were of “corrupt mind” supposed godliness was a means of (material) gain and their desire for riches was a trap that brought them “into ruin and destruction” (vs 9).
2 Timothy 4:3 ESV For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
The problem with the prosperity gospel is not only that it is heretic – but that this false gospel is so dangerous to the point that it can send deceived people straight to the fires of hell. What’s worse also is that prosperity preachers have twisted scriptures in the Bible to justify covetousness, greed, self ambition and the desire to pursue worldly riches instead of pursuing eternal blessings and eternal rewards.
Jesus said the following: Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” – Matthew 19:23-24 NKJV
The most important issues to learn about the prosperity gospel are the following: a) What is the prosperity gospel and what does the prosperity gospel really teach? b) Does the fact that the prosperity gospel is popular among millions of people and is preached by well-known charismatic & articulate preachers mean that the prosperity gospel is true? c) What are the dangers of believing and following the prosperity gospel? d) Who benefits from the prosperity gospel?
Through Part 1 and Part 2 of this article please look out for the Biblical answers and explanation concerning the 4 issues above.
WHAT DOES THE FALSE PROSPERITY GOSPEL TEACH?
1) God Wants You To Be Rich Are you aware, that whenever Jesus brought up the issue of earthly money & riches, Jesus always spoke AGAINST the idea of people pursuing material wealth & earthly riches? He was against it so much that He warned His followers by saying “it is HARD for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:23,24)
So does God want you to be rich? Does God desire that you seek after money & things? As you live on this earth, is God’s desire for you to seek after the expensive cars; to wear the best looking clothes and to live in an expensive posh house? Does having such type of material possessions and wealth reflect that God’s blessings are truly on you and that you have a RIGHT relationship with God?
Philippians 4:11,12 ESV – Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
If God doesn’t want you to be rich, then does He want you to be poor? The truth is God wants you to be CONTENT in whatever situation you are in. 1 Timothy 6:6 says “godliness with CONTENTMENT is GREAT gain”. Therefore life is not about whether you are rich or whether you’re poor; or whether you have or whether you don’t have – “life does not consist in the abundance of things”(Luke 12:15)
What does God say about people who want to be rich? Here are a few out of MANY Bible verses where God speaks against people having a desire to pursue material riches.
Luke 12:15 NKJV – And He (Jesus) said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”
Matthew 6:19-21 ESV – “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
1 Timothy 6:6-10 NKJV – Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Ecclesiastes 5:10 ESV – He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.
From the scriptures above (and there are many other similar scriptures), it is clear that God does not promote the pursuit of material wealth or riches. God desires CONTENTMENT in whatever situation. Most of all, God desires that you seek His kingdom & His righteousness FIRST (Matthew 6:33). God knows the temptations and distractions that come with pursuing after material riches. He therefore discourages it because the pursuit of riches actually prevents us from pursuing God, and the more riches we have, the greedy we become because money does not satisfy.
2) “Seeding” Your Money Will Compel God to Reward You The popular term that prosperity preachers use whenever they want people’s money is the word “seed” or “seeding” / “sowing”. Therefore when a prosperity preacher asks you to “seed” or “sow”, he is really asking you to give either him or to give his church some money with a promise that the “seed money” will “harvest” a double blessing or a “reward” from God.
Matthew 7:7-11 – “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”
Imagine you have a son. And your son told you that he was going to “seed” $10 to you as his father, because he wants you to one day buy him a car. Or imagine you have a daughter, and your daughter told you that she is “seeding” $20 to you because she will be expecting you to buy her a house. What kind of child-father relationship would this be? Is it not somehow a manipulative and strange relationship? Would you really want your own child to “seed” money to you so that you can do good things for child? Would such a relationship be a GENUINE relationship?
Jesus did not teach any formulas for getting God to do something for us. Jesus did not teach that there is a get-rich formula for life. Jesus taught that if you wanted something from God, you should simply ASK – pray, believe and let God do the rest. Matthew 7:11 says how much more will your Father in Heaven give good things to those who ASK Him.
The problem is not with the concept of giving, but the problem is that we think God should respond because we “seeded” money.
The prosperity gospel has indoctrinated its followers that God responds to our giving of money to the church or to the preacher. For example, one might expect that if he “seeds” $100, he must expect God to give him a double portion of $200 or a possession he desires. Therefore should the concept of giving become a tool to force God to grant somebody personal prosperity? Would such motives be pure and good?
2 Corinthians 9:7-8 ESV – Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Whenever you read the gospels and study the ministry of Jesus & His apostles you will discover something very interesting about Jesus’ ministry and the ministry of His apostles that is very different from what you see from the prosperity churches and the prosperity preachers.
Jesus did not ever ask for so-called “seed” money from any person who needed His help. Unlike the false prosperity preachers, Jesus did not teach that God will materialistically reward those who “seed” money into the church or into the pockets of preachers. Jesus did not ever teach that “seeding” money is a pre-requisite for experiencing God’s answer to prayer or God’s deliverance.
Jesus even told His disciples when He sent them to minister into various towns to not request payment from those they had helped. Therefore the idea that “seed money” must be paid or given to get God to respond was never anything that Jesus taught. Matthew 10:8,9 ESV – (Jesus speaking) “ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. 9 Acquire no gold nor silver nor copper for your belts,”
Acts 3:6-7 ESV – But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong”.
Jesus did not also teach that if anyone has a physical or spiritual need, then one must give “seed” money in order to activate God’s hand. God is not activated by money. God acts and responds out of His own will and NOT out of the will of man (Luke 22:42 and Matthew 6:10).
Often during Jesus’ ministry and even His apostles, the people who had need of God’s help were often poor, broke, desperate, sick, helpless and hopeless. Yet Jesus never requested for their money as a “seed” that He might deliver them. Neither did Jesus ever teach his disciples that God would respond to people’s “seed” money for them to receive their breakthrough or their deliverance or more wealth.
3) Jesus Was Rich or Wealthy Was Jesus rich? Did He look rich and wear expensive clothes? The prosperity preachers would falsely like to have people believe that Jesus was wealthy whilst on earth. However, the truth is Jesus was not rich and wealthy during His earthly ministry as the prosperity preachers teach.
It was one of the reasons why such skeptics as the Pharisees were not convinced that Jesus was the Messiah. The reason is because even to the Pharisees, Jesus didn’t dress like a King; or move around with servants and an army like a king. Jesus was not the kind of King or Messiah that the materialistic Pharisees expected. On the outside, Jesus looked like any ordinary person.
Jesus told an interested follower that “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head” (Luke 9:58).
Jesus and His disciples often relied on the hospitality of others during their ministry.
Jesus in humility took the form and life of a servant and not of a rich man when He came to earth (Philippians 2:6-8 ESV – Who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross).
Mark 10:45 ESV – For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus also encouraged His disciples to become like servants (Mark 10:43-44 ESV – But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.)
The life of a servant or slave of God is NOT to pursue after riches. The life of a servant of God is to serve and obey his Master.
Jesus did not go around the earth preaching a prosperity gospel or giving His disciples a get-rich formula for life. Jesus preached repentance and the need for man to have a right relationship with God (Matthew 4:17). Jesus came as a living example of how we should serve God and live a life that is pleasing to Him. Jesus also came that we may pursue the prize of eternal life through Him and not the temporary monetary riches of this earth.
4) The Bible or Jesus Spoke More About Money Than Any Other Topic Does the Bible speak more about money than any other topic? Several prosperity teachers have heretically claimed that God or Jesus or the Bible speaks more about money than any other topic. This claim is untrue and totally deceptive. The main message of God’s word is not about the accumulation of wealth and possessions. Material prosperity has never been at the heart of God’s concern in relation to man’s relationship with Him.
Therefore if material wealth & health is not at the top of God’s heart, then what has been God’s great desire concerning His creation?
2 Peter 3:9-10 ESV – The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
Matthew 4:17 ESV – From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
John 5:39 ESV – (Jesus speaking) You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about Me,
John 3:16 ESV – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Matthew 28:19-20 ESV – Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Contrary to the false teachings of prosperity teachers, the Bible was not inspired by God in order to supply man with a get-rich formula for life. God’s word exists because the entire Bible speaks & witnesses about Jesus (both in the Old & New Testament – John 5:39). The Bible also exists because it is necessary for every person to repent from sin and realize that salvation can only be found through faith in Jesus Christ whom God sent out of His love for the world.
It’s interesting to note, that when you study the life and teachings of Jesus, whenever the issue of money or possessions came up as a subject during His ministry – Jesus NEVER ENCOURAGED or MOTIVATED his followers to seek after MATERIAL or WORLDLY or TEMPORARY wealth and riches. In fact, Jesus ALWAYS encouraged His followers to seek after heavenly things and godliness rather than to seek after material or temporary wealth.
There are MANY scriptures in the Bible and in Jesus’ teachings where Jesus told His followers that the pursuit and the love of money and material wealth posed a great danger to their relationship with God and to their faith.
The kind of preaching about acquiring wealth or riches that is preached today – or the “prosperity gospel” as it is sometimes called – where the pursuit of material wealth is emphasized over the pursuit of true godliness is very flawed and at most unbiblical whenever the prosperity gospel teachings are put under the correct scrutiny of God’s word and teachings.
1 Timothy 6:6-10 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
The word of God warns us that the desire to be rich or the love and pursuit of material wealth can lead to many snares and temptations which may end up leading people astray and away from true faith in God.
It is important to understand that money in itself is not evil, but the love of money and the love of material possessions can lead to all kinds of evil.
Below are various Biblical reasons as to what the dangers and snares are, when a person pursues after riches:
THE DANGERS OF LOVING MONEY & DESIRING RICHES
(1) THE LOVE OF MONEY LEADS TO ALL KINDS OF EVIL – (1 Timothy 6:10 – For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil …)
The love of money can be so powerful that people will practice witchcraft & voodoo in order to obtain wealth; some will kill for money; some will marry for money; some will sell their bodies sexually for money; some will sell their souls for money; some will exploit the weak and the desperate for money; some will even deny Christ and speak heresy for money;
Judas betrayed Jesus and was rewarded for his betrayal with money.
According to scripture, there are no limits to the kind of evil that people can do if the love of money is present because “the love of money a root of ALL kinds of evil”. Therefore money is not something that a person should love or lust for. The reason is that when we love money, we open ourselves to ALL kinds of temptations and wickedness.
(2) THE PURSUIT OF RICHES LEADS TO GREED – (1 Timothy 6:6-10 – Now godliness with contentment is great gain… For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness …)
Problems can always arise when we do not live in contentment. When we are not content with what God has given us at a particular time, we then become governed by our flesh. And when we are governed by the flesh and not by God, we then succumb to fleshly characteristics such as greed, where we want more than we actually need. Greediness becomes the motivating factor by which we pursue after material wealth and riches and greed is an ungodly and forbidden characteristic. (Read: Biblical Prosperity (Part 2) – The Rich Fool) to learn more about the dangers of greed.
(3) RICHES CAN PREVENT YOU FROM LIVING GENUINELY FOR GOD – (Matthew 19:21-24 – Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”)
Do you own your possessions? Or do your possessions own you? Would you put God FIRST in all areas of your life and follow Christ as your NUMBER ONE priority instead of pursuing after material wealth and riches? In Matthew 6:33 Jesus is very clear about what we should seek FIRST in our lives (Matthew 6:33 – But seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you). Therefore above every personal desire and need, God wants us to FIRST seek His kingdom AND His RIGHTEOUSNESS. The problem with the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:16-23 is that this rich man valued his personal wealth and possessions as being of more importance than following Jesus. The rich man may have initially claimed to have followed God’s commandments and he may have had knowledge of the scriptures, but the TRUE nature of his heart was revealed when Jesus told him to sell his possessions and follow Him. The rich man’s heart was with his possessions and not with God. He loved his possessions and wealth more than he loved God. As a result his riches prevented him from GENUINELY following the Lord.
(4) THE LOVE OF MONEY IS IDOLATRY – (Matthew 6:24 – “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.)
Mammon is personified as a false god of riches & money. Mammon as a false god attempts to substitute God’s role of provision in a person’s life. Therefore instead of man looking to God for his provisions, man looks to mammon for provisions. This is why Jesus clearly has a problem with people’s love for money. If our love and loyalty is to the pursuit of money, then it means that our relationship with God is automatically compromised. However, if our loyalty and love is with God then the issue of money no longer becomes important in our lives. According to Jesus, we CANNOT serve BOTH money and God at the same time. God equates the love of money and our loyalty to money to be equal to loving and serving a false god.
(5) THE PURSUIT OF RICHES TAKES YOUR FOCUS OFF THE REAL PRIZE – (Matthew 6:19-21 – “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”).
Jesus emphasizes that the pursuit of heavenly treasures is more important than the pursuit of temporary wealth and riches. In 1 Timothy 6:7 we are reminded that when we were born we brought nothing into this world. Therefore when we die we will not take any material possession or money with us. The love of money can deceive us into believing that we will keep our material possessions and money forever. However the true treasure and rewards we must seek after are the treasures in heaven. These treasures that Jesus mentions await us when we have a genuine personal relationship with God and when we live a life of genuine service and obedience to God and His word.
(6) THE LOVE OF POSSESSIONS & MONEY LEAD TO SELF-DECEPTION & COVETOUSNESS – (Luke 12:15 – And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”)
Another danger concerning the love of money is that it can deceive people into believing that their success in life is measured by how much money they make. However Jesus teaches that our success or life is not measured by the abundance of our money or possessions. Even our spiritual maturity or relationship with God can never be measured by the size of our bank accounts or by the amount of possessions that we own. For example, in the Bible, Joseph was a slave of his Egyptian master, but even though Joseph was a slave, the word of God referred to Joseph as being a successful or prosperous man (Genesis 39:2,3 – And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand). Read also Biblical Prosperity (Part 1) – The Study of Joseph
Philippians 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Money is a mere tool. God wants us to pursue Him above ALL things – including money. God wants us to put Him FIRST and He wants us to rely on Him to provide for our EVERY need. Money does not satisfy (Ecclesiastes 5:10). However God only can satisfy us. Therefore, whatever provisions we need, we must rely on the Lord to supply according to HIS riches and not according to yours.
Aug. 06Money IssuesComments Off on Biblical Prosperity (Part 2) – The Rich Fool
Our culture and society has trained us to want more, to strive for more and to have more. To the world, your success and prosperity is measured by the quantity of what you have; Therefore worldly thinking measures you and your prosperity by the quantity of your possessions, the quantity of your salary and perks, the quantity of your clothes, the quantity of your degrees and the like. In our culture and society – the more you have, the more respect you will get, the more you move up the ladder in terms of your social status, the more influence or power you have and the more you can supposedly accomplish in life.
Therefore a person has got to work for more money, have more cars, have more houses, have more clothes and the like. At times people will try to achieve more of these things at the cost of disadvantaging others in the process.
However, can having money, riches, possessions and power be enough to satisfy a person? Does material wealth and financial riches bring personal satisfaction and do they give a person a true feeling of accomplishment – or do they continue to motivate a person to have an insatiable desire for more and more of these things.
Luke 12:15-21 NKJV And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”‘ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
7 MISTAKES OF THE RICH FOOL
The Rich Fool who built a bigger barn in Jesus’ parable made a lot of mistakes. The Rich Fools mistakes are very common and very relevant in today’s culture and society where the desire for more riches, more power, more possessions lead people to sin against the Lord because of greed.
The Rich Fool was blinded not only by his riches, but he was also blinded by his greed or his desire to have more.
The Rich Fool’s mistake was that (1) He measured his success by the abundance of his possessions. (Luke 12:15 – And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”) (2) He was overtaken by greed. He already had plentiful but he wanted more. (Luke 12:16-18 – Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully…) (3) He was not content with what he had. He had more than enough and yet he wanted even more, therefore he built a bigger barn (Luke 12:17-18 – And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods.) (4) He was boastful in himself, in his achievements and about what he owned. He trusted that his possessions would give him security for the rest of his life.( Luke 12:19 – And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”) (5) He wanted to satisfy his flesh. The fact that he was so rich and had built a bigger barn, he thought that this gave him the opportunity to no longer work but instead spend the rest of his life on indulging his fleshly pleasures .( Luke 12:19 – And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”) (6) He did not realize that all the possessions he owned were just temporary assets. He forgot that he could die at any time and not have a chance to enjoy his possessions and wealth. (Luke 12:20 – But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’) (7) He was self-serving and self-centred. He was not rich towards God and he did not focus on doing deeds that would earn him heavenly rewards. (Luke 12:21 – “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” )
Ecclesiastes 5:10 ESV He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.
(According to www.vocabulary.com) – Greed is an overwhelming urge to have more of something, usually more than you really need. Greed is an excessive desire to acquire or possess more (especially more material wealth) than one needs or deserves. Greed is often connected with money, a desire to acquire as much of it as possible, but it can refer to that kind of urge toward anything, like food or material possessions. When you see greed, it’s an ugly thing, whether you’re observing a greedy person or the greed of a huge company that treats its workers badly in order to make more money. Greed comes from the Old English grædig, or “voracious”, which means “always hungry for more.”
The truth is money, riches, possessions do not satisfy. Only God is able to satisfy. The Rich Fool was motivated by greed or a lust for more.
In today’s society we want more than enough. The world is not content with having enough.
1 Timothy 6:6-10 NKJV Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Whenever we are tempted with greed, let us remember that the very possessions we work so hard to achieve can disappear within seconds. We can leave this earth at any time and leave the very possessions that we coveted.
It is better for us to put more effort in doing the will of the Lord and focusing on being rich towards God through obeying Him and serving Him. When we do this, we will acquire treasures in Heaven.