Saturday, March 19, 2011

Jesus wants me to be rich? Great, I want me to be rich!

There probably isn't too many of us who haven't heard the term, “money is the root of all evil”. We may even have been told that this phrase is Biblical. Those that have said that, and convinced us that it is true, have missed a crucial word from this verse:
1Timothy 6:10a For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil,

Before Jesus saved me I was pursuing financial success like it was the most important thing in the world. I remember a motivational speaker I used to listen to said, “money isn't everything, but it is reasonably close to oxygen.” The sad thing about this statement is that this man claimed to be a follower of Jesus Christ, and at the time I didn't even know what that meant. Based on listening to this man, I put two and two together and concluded, “Jesus wants me to be rich?! Great, I want me to be rich! I think Jesus and I will get along just fine!”

Although the televangelist and motivational speakers with the “Jesus angle” will tell you otherwise, you will never find anything in The Word of God that says anything remotely close to the statement, “Jesus wants you to be rich”.

You will see over and over again that we are called to be content:

1Timothy 6:6-8 Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.

As we have discussed before, Philippians 4:13 is often used as a “success verse”; an “I can do it” verse. Let's take a look at the context in which Paul wrote this verse:

Philippians 4:9-14 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me--practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. 10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. 14 Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble.

Clearly Paul is talking about being content. Whether Paul is of lack or plenty, he is content and can do all Christ Who strengthens him.

When we are consumed by money our vision and decision making gets out of whack. We say and do things that are ungodly. When we love money, above all else, it becomes our idol and nothing else matters. When we love money God takes a back seat. When we love money the kids ball games and other events become less important to get to. 

1Timothy 6:9-10 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

What should we be doing instead of pursuing wealth, and what should those who are rich in this world be focussed on?:

1Timothy 6:11-19 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, 14 to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will display at the proper time--he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. 17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

Matthew 6:19-21 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

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