Posted in theology

Are you wise in your own eyes?

By Elizabeth Prata

The rich man is wise in his own eyes, But the poor who has understanding sees through him. (Proverbs 28:11).

I couldn’t help but stop and ponder this. I thought of the Rich Young Ruler of Mark 10:17-27. He asked Jesus as the “Good Teacher” what must he do to be saved, who thought that he had perfectly kept the first commandments, but refused to give up his money, “for he had much property”.

The MacArthur Study Bible says that this verse contrasts the discerning poor with the rich man, who is deceived by his self-confidence. Riches are not always possessed by the unrighteous and wisdom by the poor, but more often than not, his is the case due to the blinding nature of wealth.

The Rich Young Ruler was wise in his own eyes, thinking that his property and wealth would comfort him to the end. But in the end there is only Jesus and one’s sin. Your property is gone. Your wealth is gone. There is only yo, and your soul, and the Lord of our souls, Jesus. How had one dealt with one’s sin? Repentance and seeing it thrown into the Lake of Fire? Or had one clutched tightly to one’s sin and now it AND your soul will be thrown into the Lake of Fire?

I think of a certain old man, whose entire life had been a fervent and focused accumulation of money. The money enabled him to buy things, and he delighted in having these things. He loved having them first in the neighborhood. He gloated over having the largest and the best. He loved work but he loved work because it brought him money and the money brought him things. But in the last seconds of his earthly existence he lay on a hot pavement, dying, and even as his body stilled and drained of life the next second his soul was cast into the even hotter regions of the universe, for he had many things, but no faith. Faith is the only thing that lasts, and it is the only thing that brings you to the feet of Jesus, the safest and best place in the universe.

The pursuit of things took his eyes away from God’s creation where He has revealed himself, and to the casting away of the Gospel when it was offered. Keep your eyes on Jesus, whether or not you have wealth. But if you do have wealth, don’t let self-confidence mar your vision of the only thing you need: The Gospel.

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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).

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Posted in Uncategorized

“We’re rich!” said the Laodiceans, only to discover…

The Laodiceans Had Material Wealth Only
Excerpt

They were urged to buy not ordinary gold, but refined gold, referring to that which would glorify God and make them truly rich. Through its banking industry the city had material wealth. But the church lacked spiritual richness. Though they had beautiful clothes, they were urged to wear white clothes (cf. v. 4), symbolic of righteousness which would cover their spiritual nakedness. As wool was a major product of the area, Laodicea was especially famous for a black garment made out of black wool. What they needed instead was pure white clothing

Then Christ exhorted them to put salve … on their eyes. A medical school was located in Laodicea at the temple of Asclepius, which offered a special salve to heal common eye troubles of the Middle East. What they needed was not this medicine but spiritual sight. The church at Laodicea is typical of a modern church quite unconscious of its spiritual needs and content with beautiful buildings and all the material things money can buy. This is a searching and penetrating message. To all such the exhortation is be earnest, and repent. Christ rebuked them because He loved them, which love would also bring chastisement on this church

Walvoord, J. F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 940). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

I like watching real estate shows on TV, especially British ones. I was watching a show the other day about a European couple with an adult daughter who wanted a specific view. They desired to hear and see the ocean off California, wanted long stretches of beach in their immediate proximity. They were moving to CA to indulge their daughter, who was attempting to become a Hollywood actress.

The host showed them a 4.5 million dollar home, which they took in stride, a 5.5 million dollar home, the cost of which they never batted an eye, and a 9.4 million dollar home, to which they mildly remarked, “That’s quite a price.”

They bought the 9.4M home.

I got to thinking about what it might be like to have that amount of money. To be able to indulge large desires and to have no worries about high prices.

I didn’t let my thinking go too far with that, lest it would raise covetousness or greed in me. I really am content with what I have, and the Lord provides for me very well. But still…

My mind turned to wondering if they were saved. I think about that a lot these days, and increasingly so. An American celebrity dies and I muse, ‘Well, they know the truth now…’ Alan Bean, Margot Kidder, Stephen Hawking… dead, dead, dead.

They had much, also. Fame, renown, professionalism in their craft, money. But what good did it do if they lost their souls? Sir Anthony Hopkins, the actor known for the movie Silence of the Lambs and many other productions, was interviewed by The Guardian this week. He spoke about his upcoming role of King Lear, and how it would be for him to play it now that he can see life spanning backwards from the vantage point of being 80 years old. He said,

You know, I meet young people, and they want to act and they want to be famous, and I tell them, when you get to the top of the tree, there’s nothing up there. Most of this is nonsense, most of this is a lie. Accept life as it is. Just be grateful to be alive.

Easy for Hopkins to say, he got to the top of the tree. Someone on Twitter said, ‘It’s almost as if the Bible is true or something’ having noted that King Solomon said much the same in his book of Ecclesiastes. Would they be so equanimous if they knew the truth about their approaching death? That their life goes on, and unless they had been declared righteous by God having repented and come through the Door of Christ, they will be eternally gnashing their teeth in pain and torment, in hell?

As for money or riches or things (like houses) Ecclesiastes 5:10 says, He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.

Ecclesiastes 2:24-26 speaks of the vanity of toil. The top of the tree is empty for Hopkins, and the house with a view will eventually UNsatisfy the European family, because the point of working for Jesus is eternal joy in pleasing the eternal savior, a legacy that extends to heaven, and expansion of the kingdom, and pure joy in serving for His sake. Everything else is striving after wind.

When life inevitably ends, all those who are outside of Jesus will find that a life philosophy of of toil…or riches…or fame… was wildly off the mark. Being in Jesus, I know where ‘the top’ of the tree is, and that makes all the difference.

The Laodiceans had everything, fame, wealth, trade, but Jesus called them poor, blind, and naked.

Prayer:
Lord, help me be satisfied and content with what You have given me, and help me deal well as a wise steward of it. Let me not be covetous nor discontent. You truly are a God Who Sees and a God Who Hears, you have given all the portions as you deem according to Your plan. Ultimately I have received the best portion, I have it all: YOU.

rich young ruler verse

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Righteousness v. Wealth

I was saying last night at Bible Study that I live paycheck to paycheck. The relentlessness of always minding the budget and working assiduously to stretch it to the end of the month gets tiring and frustrating at times. The discussion was about contentment v. discontentment. I said I work hard to avoid being discontent with my circumstances by keeping my trust and faith and eyes on Jesus and not on my circumstances. I hope I avoid discontentment, at least.

So this morning I was reading the Bible in my quiet time, and along comes this verse. It was immensely encouraging. I pray it might be to you as well, if you’re living on the thin side.

Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice. (Proverbs 16:8).

Hmmm, interesting! What can it mean? Matthew Henry’s Commentary provides a succinct interpretation:

Here, 1. It is supposed that an honest good man may have but a little of the wealth of this world (all the righteous are not rich),—that a man may have but little, and yet may be honest (though poverty is a temptation to dishonesty, ch. 30:9, yet not an invincible one),—and that a man may grow rich, for a while, by fraud and oppression, may have great revenues, and those got and kept without right, may have no good title to them nor make any good use of them.

2. It is maintained that a small estate, honestly come by, which a man is content with, enjoys comfortably, serves God with cheerfully, and puts to a right use, is much better and more valuable than a great estate ill-got, and then ill-kept or ill-spent. It carries with it more inward satisfaction, a better reputation with all that are wise and good; it will last longer, and will turn to a better account in the great day, when men will be judged, not according to what they had, but what they did

Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 990). Peabody: Hendrickson.

My interpretation: Righteousness reaps more contentment than do riches, because riches are from the world and righteousness is from Jesus.

Selah!

treasure