Posted in love of money, theology

Is Being Rich A Sin?

By Elizabeth Prata

Not that I would know, lol. But the question has been raised.

Having money is not a sin. Abraham, Job, Nicodemus, and Joseph of Arimathea, Joseph son of Isaac and Moses were either wealthy themselves or lived in wealthy circumstances. Alternately, not having money is not a sin, either, as we see from Mary and Joseph, and Jesus Himself.

But the Bible does warn us that there will be false teachers who do not teach for the love of Jesus but for the love of money. (2 Peter 2:3). 1 Timothy 6:10 says that the love of money is the root of all evil. The issue isn’t having or not having money. It’s what you do with it. Abraham shared his wealth generously with his nephew Lot, he tithed generously to the King, he supported his family, he helped others with his provision. Abraham knew his prosperity came from God and wasn’t his to begin with.

Greedy prosperity teachers hoard it, collect worldly goods by twisting the Word and living off others’ backs by using God for their own gain. The first recorded words of Judas was about money, and the very next verse reveals his motivations: he was a greedy thief who helped himself to the purse. Properly acknowledging from whom all blessings (and material wealth) flows is paramount, as king Nebuchadnezzar found out in Daniel 4:30.

The Bible also tells us that in addition to believing right doctrine, teachers are held to a higher standard and must live a righteous lifestyle. I’ve noticed as some wealthy false teachers’ wealth has increased over the decades, their charitable giving has decreased. That’s always the proportion for the worldly. But the Bible says 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. (Matthew 6:19-21).

Having material wealth does give rise to a danger of self-satisfaction and self-sufficiency. It IS hard for wealthy people to gain the kingdom, (Matthew 19:24), but having wealth isn’t any more a sin than being poor is a sin. It’s how you live that counts. How you obey God. How you use what He has given you, no matter how much or how little.

Where is your primary orientation, all your thoughts, your goals? If your thoughts are toward getting and maintaining your possessions, then you have nothing.

If they are pointed toward Jesus, then no matter how much money or possessions you have, you have everything.

No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. (Matthew 6:24).

treasure

Posted in love of money, service

Botched Spanish Fresco becomes international sensation

Botched Spanish Fresco Becomes International Sensation

“It turned a small church in Spain into an international laughing stock: a badly restored fresco of Jesus Christ that ended up looking like strange-looking monkey. But the awful work of art also did something else: it turned the Misericordia church into a tourist attraction, with hundreds of tourists flocking to Boria, a small town in Spain, to see an artwork gone wrong. And the church has even tried to cash in on its new-found infamy – it charges visitors 1-Euro to see the botched painting. The distorted image then began appearing on T-shirts and cellphone covers, coffee mugs and wine labels. It became an icon used to sell products around the world.”

“Ecce Homo (Behold the Man), completed in 1930, made headlines last month after Gimenez, a parishioner of the church, decided to restore it to her former glory. The 80-year-old parishioner instead turned the fresco of Christ wearing a crown of thorns into a disfigured, overweight she-man with a double chin and no beard.”

Now she has hired lawyers to see if there is copyright infringement on “her” work. “If she has rights, said lawyer Antonio Val Carreras Rivera, Gimenez could pursue payments from those using the image to sell products, although whatever she earns would go to charity.”

Call me skeptical, but if she wanted the money to go to charity she could refrain from hiring lawyers and do without the entire legal brouhaha altogether and let the church simply donate directly from what they take in.

This is the kind of thing I’d mentioned last night about people going C-R-A-Z-Y. The human behaviors of sacrifice, humility and others-centeredness has turned into ‘I want to make a buck and I’ll run over the next guy to do it. I have rights ya know!’

Paul warned Timothy that in the last days there would be godlessness. When a society is without God there is a demonstrable decline in human behavior. That is just how it is. Jesus said so in Matthew 24:12, “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.” It is a causal relationship. The word lawlessness in Greek means both illegal, and sinful behavior.

Godlessness in the Last Days

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”

Paul said “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4). In lauding Timothy, Paul said of others, “For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 2:21). The Pharisees loved money. After they heard Jesus tell the parable of the dishonest manager, they sneered at Him, and the verse in Luke 16:14 directly says they sneered because they loved money.

Instead of being grateful for the unexpected windfall, instead of using the attention to talk of charitable needs in the community, instead of simply pointing to Christ and sharing the Gospel, the issue has become a fight over personal rights and money.

The fresco fight reminded me of the times, because it is prophesied we will be constantly tempted to act in our own interests. We need to always put Christ first. He came to serve, not to be served. (Matthew 20:28). I need to remind myself of that frequently, so I am not making myself an exception in this post. If we are slaves in Christ, and we are, (1 Corinthians 7:22) we have no rights- except the privilege to fulfill what He gives us to do. This is loving others, even our enemies, humility in thought and deed, and selfless service.