Riches

by Jannie

There is a saying that holds a great truth:  Poor is a mentality, broke is a temporary inconvenience.

 

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not about our well-being [independence from God in wealth] but for us to be like Jesus Christ [manifest His love]. We are not Christians for only our sake but for God’s sake. God is Love and wants us to be in His image – Love; and to enjoy His Love in fullness and power and His authority. When in His presence continually in Truth (Jn 14:6), we will be guided by Him (Jn 4:24; Rom 8:14). We will, in His presence, enjoy more wholeness [a package] “accidentally” than if we were trying intentionally.
God’s kingdom is about wholeness in God’s Love, to manifest God’s love to the world; and not to be in need nor strive for self-gain. Love does not insist on its own rights and does not seek its own way (1 Cor 13:5). Material riches and wealth is not what Rom 8:32 is talking about, the “all” there is about all things that pertains to godliness and fulfilment in God’s love that speaks of manifested Love (1 Jn 4:8) through our lives. Contemplate Mt 16:26; Phil 4:12-15; Eph 5:5-17; 1 Tim 6:6; 1 Cor 9:19 and 1 Cor 13.
Note that Jesus was not – and did not preach – destitute (to be humble is not destitute; even Mt 5:3,5); but it is blatantly anti-Christ [not His Good News, Gospel] to operate in lust and greed. So, let’s think about this.

Unfortunately (pardon the pun), many “Christian” organizations and/or preachers/leaders (1 Jn 2:4; Jn 14:6; Rom 8;14; Mt 7:20-23) have taunted a quite acceptable result of God-fearing people to be not in want (Ps 23:1), and then by their own shrewd but wicked systems using God’s Name in plain extortion/manipulation with fear, lust and greed. This is equally evil than to look down upon those who ended up in material need for rejecting lust and greed [but not due to their own uselessness or laziness].  Please bear with this author and read on.


Note on Mt 6:19: If isolated from the rest of God’s Word, there are some scriptures that could be interpreted to say that having money or wealth is wrong (Examples: Ps 37:16; Prov 10:2; 11:4,28; 13:7; 15:16-17; 16:8; 23:4-5; 28:8,20,22; 30:8-9; Eccl 5:10-15; Jer 9:23; Mt 6:19-34; 13:22; 19:23-24; Lk 12:15-21; 1 Tim 6:4-11, 17-19). However, there are other scriptures that speak of riches as a blessing (Examples: Gen 13:2,6; 24:35; Dt 8:18; 28:1-14; 1 Ki 3:11-13; 10:21-23; 2 Ki 20:13; 1 Chr 29:11-12; Job 1:3; Ps 112:3; Prov 3:13-16; 8:1,18,21; 21:20; Mt 6:33; Mk 10:28-30; 2 Cor 8:9; 3 Jn 2).

The harmony between these two apparently opposite positions is that money [per se] is neither good nor bad. It is the love of money that is the root of much evil (1 Tim 6:10), and many have committed that sin who is so poor that they can’t even pay attention. The love of things (covetousness) is idolatry and that is what Jesus is addressing.  God looks at your heart, your motive, and can impossibly be impressed by what you have…

Jesus gave this same teaching another time, recorded in Luke 12:22-32. His teaching in Luke (which is nearly word for word the same as here in Mt 6) was in response to a man who asked Jesus to arbitrate the dividing of his family’s inheritance. Jesus warned the man concerning covetousness, and taught a parable about the rich fool, and then spoke of seeking first the kingdom of God. Through this, it is easy to see that Jesus was not speaking against riches but rather, covetousness [double-mindedness and self-righteousness].

Note on Heb 13:5a.  It is not the money, but the love for money, that reveals the wicked thought processes of:

–          Greed, lust, insatiable self-feeding intent on ultimately satisfying self-interest

–          Thinking God is not needed (“self-made” millionaires, etc.); making self your own god

–          Thinking material things are [can be] security, safety, provision; and not God as Source

–          Thinking material things gives [exercise] control [power]; is your strength (Heb 13:6)

 

We can, in essence, perhaps divide people looking for happiness in money into two groups. (i) Those trying to be happy by obtaining things [material status-symbol possessions], and (ii) those who use money to pay for experiences.  The fist is in vain for it deals with the hoarding self and what is dead, and vanity, selfishness, and ultimately uselessness.  The second group may find their experiences gratifying probably because of a sense of enrichment through some form of fulfilment; and can even include deeds of welfare or charity – and perhaps even more useful by helping others to better equip themselves and so not remain in lack (Eph 4:28; 1 Thess 4:11,12; even Ps 23:1).  Still, we’ll probably discover that the second group acts more on God’s Voice and not mammon (see the paper Hearing God’s Voice), in which case the money was not the provider but the One that guides, councils, teaches, comforts (Jn 14:26).  Take care, however, not to fall in a trap of self-righteousness (Rom 9:11b; 11:6; Gal 2:16; Eph 2:9; Tit 1:16; 3:5-6; Heb 6:1; 9:14; and so on).

Because it is so easy to get trapped into self-righteousness and selfishness, for example, to lust after money and the things it can provide, the Lord established a system whereby real and lasting prosperity is a by-product of putting God first. As Mt 6:33 states, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” It is like walking with your Father through a place where you see things you can use; and that you were there with Him because you were walking with Him [to be with Him] in the first place; you were not leading Him there so that you could con [manipulate] Him into a position from where you could nag Him to give in to what you lust for, as if your nagging could get Him to change His idea on righteousness, fairness, etc.  See Phil 3:9.

We should no more reject the blessing of prosperity than we should covet it, which would be idolatry. Perhaps 1 Tim 4:7,8; and chapter 6 can be read like this, “gain is not godliness, but prolonged godliness brings gain in all areas of our lives” (2 Tim 3:1-5; Is 48:17; Jer 29:11-13).  “Profit” means gain, benefit, surplus, stand in good stead, takings, to make the best use of, to put to good use… this all entails knowing Who the real Provider is, and Who all good belongs to, and where we will sow [return, give back].  And God does not provide by manipulation, but through the hearts of those who know [the truth in] Rom 12:9.

Never the less, God’s riches are more likely His children, than things found in the ground [that He put there].  He is after a personal relationship with us, not our [His] things.  He wants us to ask His opinion, not dead things.  He gave us the choice what to do here on earth.  Whatever we do or make with Christ in us, will be blessed!  It shows lack of understanding to ask Him for blessing on things we do or intend to do, when He has already provided [through Jesus] blessing on what we do as mature children of Him as our Father-God (Eph 1:3).  To ask and seek [advise, wisdom], brings forth a relationship and shows we know our place, and Who He is [and who He is not].  Through habitual, continuous conversation, do we know a perfect Father, an outrageously loving Giver, a Comforter, a Teacher, a Guide, a Friend – and our Lord.

Mary & Joseph apparently did not have (or could not in time get) a lamb to offer, so they offered two turtle doves (Lk 2:24.  This was a compensation allowed by God’s grace – Lev 5:7, even verse 11).  They might have thought that they did not have the better requirement (was not wealthy enough and so offered something of lesser value); but meanwhile Mary had the Lamb of God – the Lamb of all lambs – as her child that would be offered for the sin of all mankind – Heb 9:14,28.  The application for us today is that we might claim to feel inadequately equipped or qualified while in fact we only show our ignorance of the fact that we could [should] have Christ inside of us to offer a desperate and lost world and to demonstrate a victorious and powerful life – in Christ. For us to be in Him, we have to apply Rom 13:14; i.e. Eph 6:12-13.

So, for real Christians to exceed the world’s measurement of capability by external means such as property or a position in a human institution, we should demonstrate the power they could never buy with their material means.  Compare Acts 8:17-23 (3:12; 4:7,33; 6:8; 8:10; 10:38; 19:11 to name a few) with 1 Cor 4:20 and Jesus’ words in Mk 16:16-20; Jn 14:12-15…  Then, if you don’t see it, consider Mk 7:13; 12:24…  We should exercise the authority He over-paid for [in faith in Him], and stop begging [wishing] for it.

 

Note at Ps 23:1. A very feasible interpretation is clear only once we have discovered [and lay down] our self-righteousness. This will cause us to realize the difference between coveting and necessity. The one is due to insatiable lust and greed [the sign of a beast, not truly God-conscious (Rom 12:9; even Js 4:1-7)], the other is plainly knowing that we [can] need no more than God [to lead us and guide us to fulfill Rom 8:14; even Jn 14:26].  What we won’t lack in God’s midst, is His provision summarized in Eph 1:3-10. Read this with the paper “Body, Soul, Spirit of man” to see God’s Love allowing us a complete free will. We should then better grasp Mt 6:31-34; Lk 10:41-42; (even Lk 15:7).  Consider also the following: Gen 11:6; Heb 2:8; Is 40:17-31; 49:4 (52:3).  This meaning [in Life] becomes richer when you hear Jesus in Jn 14:30; 15:5; 1 Cor 13:2 (1 Jn 4:16-17… God [Jesus Christ] = Love!); 2 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 6:7-8…  Similarly, hear Paul in Acts 20:32-35 (Rom 12:13; Eph 4:28; Heb 4:16)… we can now be useful.

All this is actually about realizing that our new nature in Christ Jesus (2 Cor 5:17) will have us renew [update] our minds (Rom 12:2) so that we will not be selfish, self-centred, self-righteous people anymore, but a new creature – 1 Jn 2:24-25 (Jn 11:26), which is discussed in the papers “Body, Soul and Spirit” and also “The Testimony” – what more indeed, would we need than [being given/offered] ever-lasting Life?…  This we tragically miss due to our own self-righteousness [haughtiness, pride, ignorance, a gospel short of what Jesus Christ offers]…

And, for those concerned about the wicked being wealthy, contemplate Ps 73 and note the change at verse 17 when Asaph dropped his self-righteousness! Also, Ps 49 and especially verses 13-20; Prov 13:7 (more so if the bread in Prov 12:9 is Him – everlasting Life – in Jn 6:48-51).

Note on Mt 6:20: We can’t physically take money into the heavenly realm, but we can utilize it to do heavenly [spiritual] things. Mt 19:21 says that through giving to the poor, we are laying up treasure in heaven.  Consider Lk 17:20-21.  An old saying is that it is better to teach someone to fish, than to give him a fish.  The principle checks with Eph 4:28.  We should work – and encourage other to do so as well – because it is the only way to discover [prove, manifest] what also is observed in Ps 139:14 – our awesome abilities.  To sit and be beggarly [pathetic], is not what God had purposed for us (Eph 1; 4:12-15; Col 1).  We should be careful then to shove a bit of money to a beggar, and neglect a response + ability to truly try and help that soul recover to being a mature child of God (Mt 28:18).  Compare this with Prov 19:17.  Note that Jesus’ teaching of Mt 6:1-3 pointed out that the wrong motive would nullify Prov 19:17 (Js 4:3).

Note on Mt 6:21: The reason for not laying up treasures on this earth [have them rule our thinking and trust in dead things] is so that we will not have our hearts drawn away from the things of God (Mk 4:19; Jn 4:24) – an eternal spirit life already existing. A key to success in the kingdom of God is singleness of purpose (Prov 23:7; Phil 3:13; 4:8). We don’t have the capacity to do our best in two areas at the same time (Mt 6:24; Js 3:1-2); therefore, if we will simply put God and His kingdom first in every area of our lives, He will add unto us all the wealth that we need through the mechanism He had already put in place as natural and Spiritual laws. “The blessing of the Lord, it makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it” (Prov 10:22). It’s when we covet after money with signs of a beast (lust, greed) that we experience 1 Tim 6:10.

Note at Mt 19:23-24.  This is expanded on in the paper “ABC Myths, Legends, Lies” p. 19/33/. This parable is often a difficult saying – especially for a reasonably wealthy Christian – to digest; for it seems Jesus was saying that it is impossible for a rich person to go to heaven [be saved].  Therefore, a tradition developed that Jesus perhaps referred to a gate in the Jerusalem wall, called “The eye of a needle” that was too narrow for a camel to pass through; possibly as a type of euphemism to draw a parallel with when rich people want to go to heaven, but leaving material possessions behind.  The difficulty then, is to deal with scholars that say they can’t find any hard evidence that such a gate in that wall in fact physically existed. But note that Jesus in Mt 19:24 talked about a needle, not the needle. Jesus was thus probably referring to not a specific gate in a specific wall [of Jerusalem only], but used a generic name for a type of gate that had a smaller door (“needle”) inside of it for night use. Don’t be confused. Ponder Mt 11:25-26 and see the relief in the verses following (28-30), with Lk 12:32!  It is thus irrelevant whether Jesus referred to a gate or a thick ships rope (explained in the paper “Myths, Legends, Lies”), because the point Jesus was making – in context – was rather about the fatal and utter useless error [impossibility to succeed] in any attempt of a self-righteous person to save himself (Lk 18:9; Phil 3:9). Like an arrogant affluent person wanting to join a Kingdom where the humble are the ones who are blessed (Mt 5:3,5; Lk 18:10-14). The crux of the analogy Jesus used was therefore in any case rather the lesson of self-righteousness, as pointed out by Jesus in the context of Mt 18:4 and 19:14 with the indication that this wealthy man in Mt 19:16, 20 seemingly also missed the point that Paul made in Rom 3:20,28; even Gal 5:4,18.  The paper on this website entitled “The Covenant and The Law” expands on this.

 

Likewise is Mt 7:14 not even saying that the narrow [right] path is difficult to follow [travel on, live out from a Godly thought-life with Christ and His Holy Spirit dwelling permanently inside you], Jesus said the narrow path is difficult to find (especially among all the hypocrisy of the religious and their false dogma – Mt 7:14-23; 15:6-9)! Jesus in fact said that it (“the narrow path” with no alternatives) is easy – Mt 11:28-30!

 

Observe, however, that just as in Mt 21:43 and the all-important Seed-principle explained by Jesus in Mt 13 (note verses 10-23 with Heb 4:12-16); is not about material things that will be taken away (money with its false suggestion of independence), but their own insight that will be darkened by their own choice to be short-sighted in self-righteous spiritual blindness (Phil 3:8-19).

 

Refer to Mt 11:25 (11:20-30; Lk 10:20-24). The poor, in an attempt to justify their poor-mentality, often tends to point to [parts of] Scriptures such as Prov 23:4a, but overlook the last part of that sentence (23:4b), or quote Prov 28:20 while overlooking Prov 28:11-14 in context, just like Prov 10:4-7,13-16,21-24. The rest of this paper expand on this. As for now, see that the impossibility of a self-righteous person to enter God’s Kingdom, is exactly what Jesus referred to in Mt 19:23-24.  The context there was the rich young man (Mt 19:16-22) that failed to see what it takes to really follow Jesus and hence fail to declare and make Jesus Lord of all in all we think and consequently do (1 Jn 2:4-6; Rom 8:2; 10:1-4; Jn 8:32,36). It is thus impossible to save yourself (Rom 3:20,28) or obtain everlasting life on your own, however independent you think you are, as there is only one way to be righteous before God the Father and that is to accept the blood-offer of Jesus Christ on His cross at Golgotha and to actually follow Him – Jn 3:3,16-21; 15:1-5; Phil 3:9-10.

 

Incidentally, Jesus is the Love of God demonstrated (Jn 3:16), so to reject Jesus is to reject God’s Love (:17-21). Now observe the context of Mt 19:26 – the disciples heard this and were puzzled (v 25), so Jesus said “… With men this is impossible, but all things are possible with God…” (Gen 18:14; Job 42:2).  Observe the connection with Rom 5:12; 8:1-4; 1 Cor 15:45,49-55… The paper “The Testimony” expands on this…

 

Note on “Blessing”.  Refer to the paper “The will of man and the will of God”.  First, contemplate even just Rom 12:14-21 (Mt 5:44-48). Note that, to understand “bless” and “curse” as verbs in the sense that a condition can be imparted to another person or persons as if the recipient will have no control over it, is nonsense; for it imply the same mechanism as in witchcraft or some form of sinister voodoo control. God is not a manipulator and is consistent (Heb 13:5,8), and will therefore not remove anyone’s free will [ability to exercise your choice]. Because God [Love] is not a manipulator, is witchcraft no part of Him and why we should have absolutely nothing to do with it (the section “Witchcraft” in the paper “Pornography, Witchcraft” expand on it with scriptural references).  The articulation of “blessing” someone, is therefore more accurately expressed as a declaration of a positioning [realms of body, soul and spirit] that you hope someone to end up in, and accompanies the hope [trust, faith] that the recipient will actively contribute towards that perceived will in agreement.  This gives more practical meaning to concepts such as admonish and Scriptures such as 2 Tim 3:15-17 that works [labour, as in giving birth] of a new creature as in Rom 8:19,28 and 2 Cor 5:17; and so together result in a certain blessing to the recipient in 2 Tim 3:17.  Even the giver when considering the beatitudes in Mt 5:4-11.  Observe – especially – Mt 11:6 (Heb 11:6)! Also, ponder Mt 13:16-21; 21:9; 23:39; 24:46.  Even the very popular Jer 29:11 continues therefore with verses 12-14! Observe even the effective declaration “But” and “Because” with another outcome than what was declared as a hope [wish, perceived will of verse 11], in verses 17-19.  Likewise the “curse” as a result in verses 21-32.

Note on lottery: Prov 28:20; 23:4,5;10:16;13:4; 15:16; 16:3; 17:15; and so on.

Note on desire.  Yes, we may desire, but only what is good (Jn 17:24; Lk 22:15; Rev 22:17; 2 Pet 3:9;   1 Cor 12:31; 14:39; and so on); but we should not desire what is bad (1 Cor 10:6; 1 Pet 2:11; 2 Pet 3:3; Jude 18; and so on).  Are you stuck at Ex 20:17 (Rom 10:4)?  If you desire what someone else have as if they should not have that thing, but you alone; you are implying that God [as the Provider] does not know what He is doing [He gave it or allowed it to the wrong person].  This is called envy, jealousy, offense, self-righteousness, and is wicked.  It is wrong to want theirs, but surely you can have something similar.  Note that the sovereignty of God does not mean that God does absolutely everything [manipulates, cause it], but rather that He simply is supreme in authority and gave us a genuine authority on this earth and spiritual life.  See the paper called “the Will” by the author.  We should take care with reading scriptures (such as Prov 28:20), that we do not miss the mark.  The following basic principles[1] hold true:

–          God’s grace and mercy is unconditional for the NT believer in Jesus Christ (Rom 11:6)

–          To “earn” money [remuneration] is a privilege, not a right, and available to all equally

–          We should “work” [be useful, handy, do something useful to others], so that we – and our observers – can witness Ps 139:14; not to only benefit ourselves or to try and impress God

–          God’s laws [not The Law] are applicable to all humans (Mt 5:45).  Atheists can do unto others as they want to be done unto them, and reap the benefits.  Conversely, the church-goers can gossip, and form all kinds of weapons – and be hard at work for the devil, the serpent of old or only self

–          Jn 4:37,38 is not applicable to money-chasers that is wishing for a quick worldly “power-fix”

Note also that options such as lotteries, Ponzi- or pyramid schemes, are  possibly more in the “wishing” or “lazy” category trusting a “god/goddess of luck”, or expecting God to manipulate [be an accomplice of] a suspect [dishonest, fraudulent] system; than in the “faith” category.  (What are you trusting God to do, and why?).  God hates falsity, and if we are sincere [if our love for Him is unfeigned], we would hate what He hates – He gave us the capacity to hate [what is bad, manipulative, harmful to morals, dishonest, false] – this is how we best avoid disaster, by hating it!  If you hate bad thoughts, you would apply 2 Cor 10:5 more readily, and see Is 54:12-17…

May you enjoy Father’s grace, mercy, abundance, joy, and peace…  and grow rich [blessing others] through persistence and consistency in your relationship with Him, in an immortal, everlasting life!

This would obviously prohibit any fraudulent, dishonest and plain wicked self-enriching money-driven schemes of empire-building false [or ignorant] preachers trying to hide behind God’s Name – they are probably in for a hell of a surprise (Mt 7:20-23).

Phil 4:6-8; 1 Thess 5:23.

Amen.


[1] “Principalities” (Eph 6) are possibly only demons manifesting as thoughts – “principal” thoughts of  “principles”.  Read with 2 Cor 10:5, Is 54:13-17; we can see how these thoughts can manifest weapons [words]; but that can result in no effect [damage] against us [if used by others], or not even manifest at all in damaging words [if from our lips], if we control our thoughts [principal principles] with accurate knowledge of Jesus Christ and His hidden treasure inside of us.  Jn 10 becomes more practical, especially verses like 27 and 28; and Heb 12:2 as well…