Tag Archives: Truth

Gain, Save, Give

Having led off the week with a post on the love of money, I really feel like there is so much more that can be said regarding it, especially in light of the emphasis it has on our culture.  When briefly researching an idea for this second post, I kept finding one central quote.  As you might have noticed from time to time, I’ll include brief sermons from John Wesley and hope to include other historical figures, but for now, let’s focus on the familiar quote from Mr. Wesley’s sermon The Use of Money.  He states, “Having First, gained all you can, and Secondly, saved all you can, Then ‘give all you can.'”  To many of you Dave Ramsey fans, this might sound familiar, because his mantra is “Live like no one else, so you can give like no one else.”  Do you notice a central theme here?  The idea is to DO what we can, to honestly GAIN what we can, so we can GIVE all we can.  I think too many times we’re focused on the gain and not on the give.  Note the following excerpt from John Wesley:

But let not any man imagine that he has done anything, barely by going thus far, by “gaining and saving all he can,” if he were to stop here. All this is nothing, if a man go not forward, if he does not point all this at a farther end. Nor, indeed, can a man properly be said to save anything, if he only lays it up. You may as well throw your money into the sea, as bury it in the earth. And you may as well bury it in the earth, as in your chest, or in the Bank of England. Not to use, is effectually to throw it away. If, therefore, you would indeed “make yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness,” add the Third rule to the two preceding. Having, First, gained all you can, and, Secondly saved all you can, Then “give all you can.”

As Christians, our role is to be Christ’s faithful stewards.  Among other things this means responsibly handling the monetary gain that we have been given.  It’s not about how much we make as a dollar figure, but how we manage what we do have.  God tests our stewardship to see how we handle what He gives us.  Luke 16:10-12 says, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?”  If we view our personal finances with that perspective, we’ll ensure that we are proper stewards of God’s blessings.

 

“One of the great dangers of having a lot of money is that you can be quite satisfied with the kinds of happiness money can give and never realize your need for God.” – C.S. Lewis

For the Love of Money

…is the root of all evil.  That’s what the Apostle Paul was teaching to Timothy in I Timothy 6:10 KJV.  In context, his message is in direct response to the church at Ephesus and their leaders’ desire for financial gain.  Not only is this message one of conviction for that church, but it’s also equally applicable to today’s society, as the focus on money seems greater than ever. 

Turn on the evening news these days and what’s the major topic?  Money.  It’s all about money, in the form of bailouts, stimulus, greed, corporate corruption, financial advisors stealing, the housing bubble collapse, bank failures, the stock market…money, money, money.    I would argue that the majority of the current problems our country is facing are the direct result of the love of money, rooted heavily in a lack of Godliness.  We’ve become so obsessed with money on a global scale that it is literally undoing countries left and right. 

Case in point: I began following the news, via the cable news channels, after the presidential election of 2000.  It was such a contested event, that I wanted to tune in daily for new updates.  Since then, I’ve made it a point to monitor world news and current events, though more so from a Biblical perspective, in the past year.  In this time, I’ve never seen such an obsession with the stock market as I’ve seen within the last year.  Rather than searching for the latest Dow Jones index in the morning paper or on the old CNN Headline News, you now see it everywhere; it’s a ticker on every channel.  It’s even a category on my new iPhone (yeah, guilty as charged).  People seem to bow to the market as though it’s an idol, a beast capable of controlling a person’s destiny, when in fact it’s nothing more than man-made instrument used by many to measure self-worth.  One of my biggest pet peeves regarding the stock market is the daily office discussions.  I remember the stock market taking nose dive last year and the monitoring fixation that took place several times a day.  It became such an annoyance that I would jump into the conversation just to offer up an opinion like, “You can’t watch that every day, it’ll drive you crazy”, in an attempt to discourage the exchange.  These examples are just microcosms of the passion, or love, of money that’s captured our society.

So what’s the Christian’s role in these discussions?  How are we to live in a society so obsessed with money?  Our role is to let Christ’s love and Light shine through us.  We can do this, not through negative comments, like I made above, but through sharing the truth of the Gospel.  Paul enforces this very action in I Timothy 6:17-18, “Command [warn] those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.  Command [charge] them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.  In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”  When we use Christian love to point out the dangers of the love of money it will open up the door for us to share the Gospel.  Instead of saying, “You can’t watch the market every day, it’ll make you go crazy”, maybe something more along the lines of “That market is just so unreliable and unpredictable isn’t it?  I used to follow it pretty regularly too, but after reading a passage in Mark 10, it changed my whole perspective on money.”  Then just kindly tell of Jesus’ parable on the Rich Young man.  That’s just one example, but hopefully it will make you think of opportunities to share the gospel when conversations, such as those on money, come up.

It’s easy for any of us, believers and non-believers to get caught up in race for money, but ultimately as Christians, we need to avoid the trap of trying to get money and focus on how we can give more.  It’s times like these when Christians need to step up their giving, not only through tithing more, but through giving to local shelters and food banks.  In doing so, we’ll show that our true Master is not money, but God. Matthew 6:24

Hebrews 13:5 “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Saul Revisited

Two months ago I published a post entitled, Are We Re-living the Time of Samuel.  My intention with this post was to point out some of the parallels that “could” happen to our country with the election of a new president.  I say “could” happen, because I included the caveat, “Unless the people can return to their roots and mission, they will crumble from within.”  I received some positive and some negative feedback on this post, because some were able to see the connection while others tried to compare every single detail of the transition of Samuel to Saul to the transition form President Bush to President Obama and that just simply wasn’t the comparison I was making.  No, Samuel is not the former president and Saul is probably not the new one, though time will tell.  It’s more about ideals and where we are as a country.  If you’d like, take a couple of minutes and read/re-read the original post and I’ll wait right here…..:-)

Back?  Good.  What we have to understand about Israel during their transition of power was that until this point, they had no king, no ruler, only judges and then priest(s) who served in capacity as prophet, priest, and “king”.  Samuel was an understudy to the priest Eli and took over for him after his death.  Eli had judged Israel for 40 years. I Samuel 4:18 Samuel had charged the house of Israel to abandon their idols and give their hearts back to God.  Samuel actually traveled via circuit year by year to different regions during his time over Israel, but as he aged, the people became disgruntled and increasingly dissatisfied.  Now is where we’ll start to see the parallels to today’s society. 

Let’s pause briefly to address the foundation of the United States.  We learn very early on in our education that the Pilgrims and Puritans came to the new world to seek religious freedom.  As such they escaped religious tyranny and began years of migration from England to what would be America to allow the practice of their religion based on the Bible.  This isn’t a history lesson, but merely to provide background for the foundation of this country on Biblical principles.  Some debated with my last post that we are such a “melting pot” that many different religions and ideas have factored into the development of the U.S., but this simply isn’t true.  It’s only been within the last century+ that this has been the case.  As I’ve mentioned, our laws, values, Constitution, Declaration of Independence, judicial system were ALL based sound Biblical principles and the authority of God.  As one of our founding fathers John Adams said, “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  Interesting.  As a nation, we are daily abandoning these foundational truths.  Churches are being divided via the gay agenda, atheism is on the rise, apostasy is upon us, our country has become one of many worldly religions and to speak out against any of these issues via Christian principles will soon be deemed hate speech.  We are turning our back on God and rejecting him as our King and sole provider.

So back to the Israelites, Samuel was able to bring them back to God and as a result their adversary the Philistines no longer had dominion over them and the cities that were taken from them were restored. I Samuel 7:13-14 But as Samuel began to age, the people began to be restless with him and demanded a king; they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” I Samuel 8:6 KJV In response to these demands, this is what the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected Me as their King.”  The Israelites forsaked God, but He told Samuel to grant their request for a king, but offer a stern warning to them.  Below is his warning:

I Samuel 8:11-18 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

Keep in mind, this warning was given because the people had turned their back on God.  God had Samuel anoint Saul as king knowing full well what would happen. 

I understand that many people view the Bible with their own interpretations and above correlation is just an example of my viewpoint.  I even debated going through the passage above and relating each specific warning to what is and will take place in this country, but elected not to, because the focus should be on returning to our roots and foundation in God.  Read the passage for yourself and let God speak to you and what it means to you.  Because agree or disagree with the analysis, there’s no debate that we are a nation falling away from God.  Will we follow the same path as the Israelites?  Have we been given our warning?  Is it too late to heed the warning?  I pray that we’re not already on the path of the warning consequences, “When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great Nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religious, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”– Patrick Henry 1776

“The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.”  The US Congress 1782

“If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under.” – Ronald Reagan