- From the Cedar Street Times, Pacific Grove
What does God say about money?
Lk 16:13, “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Either we choose to serve God with our money, or the devil will deceive us into thinking money is our god, Matt 13:22, “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.” Once we choose to serve God, we realize everything He created belongs to Him, and we no longer need to strive for money, Ps 24:1, “The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” For when we seek His kingdom and His righteousness before all other things, God will provide for all of our needs, Matt 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” God teaches us to be content with what He gives us, as Paul explains in, Phil 4:11-13, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” God tells us we can be content in all situations, because He loves us and He will never forsake us, Heb 13:5, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” The problem is many of us have placed the desires of this life in front of the eternity God offers, Jn 5:24, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
Money leads some of us to believe we alone are responsible for creating the wealth we have accumulated, but God says our pride leads us to this false conclusion, Deut 8:17-18, “And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.” God gives us the power to accumulate wealth so that He can use us, and our wealth, to help complete His plan for an eternal family. When we love our treasures more than we love what God has planned for their use, we have allowed money to separate us from God’s love, Matt 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” This is the lesson Jesus was giving to the man who asked Him what he lacked, Matt 19:21, “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” Jesus did not tell everyone to sell everything; for He had other uses for the wealth He had allowed them to accumulate. But, this man’s problem was his money, and it was preventing him from following Jesus, and Jesus gave him the solution. When we love the creation more than we love the creator, God knows what we need to hear, Mk 8:36, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
The Pharisees thought they were the godliest people, but they let money and power come between them and God, Lk 16:14, “ And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.” They were not willing to give up their treasure and follow God’s way, which led them away from Jesus’ love. When they tried to trap Jesus with one of Caesar’s coins, He used their trap to convict them of their covetous ways, Matt 22:21, “They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.” God had already told the Pharisees to be righteous, and they ignored Him, Prov 16:8, “Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.” God had explained the vanity of wealth, and they ignored Him, yet again, Eccl 5:10, “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.” God has Timothy explain the troubles we will find along the road marked by the love money, 1 Tim 6:9-10, “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Notice, Timothy did not say all have coveted, he said, “some coveted” and it led them away “from the faith”, the faith the Apostles found in Jesus.
When we properly use the money God has allowed us to accumulate, we become cheerful givers, 2 Cor 9:7, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” God never asks us to give more than He has provided for us to give, Deut 16:17, “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee.” When we properly use His money we are honoring the Lord, Prov 3:9, “Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:” The wonderful thing is we can never out give the Lord, Lk 6:38, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Those who choose to ignore God and His generosity will come to want, Prov 22:16, “He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want” in this life and/or the next.
Wealthy Egyptians were buried with their wealth, in hopes of taking it into the next life, but God tells us the only way to do that is to use it in this life to complete His plan for the building of His eternal family, Matt 6:20, “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:”
Money is not evil. The proper use of money is part of God’s plan. Money only becomes evil when we put it before God’s kingdom and His righteousness.
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