Saturday, March 03, 2007

If You Become Rich, Does That Make You Godly

“Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” 1 Timothy 6:5

We live in a prosperous time.  Our economy is growing and unemployment is at a low.  We survived the 9/11 economy slump and things seem to be rolling along quite well.  God has been good to us as a people.  But do we appreciate his blessings and do we understand that he can also take away as Job found when he said in Job 2:21, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”  Paul said to those who were able to gain some wealth in this world, “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;  That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;  Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” 1 Timothy 6:16-18  Most of us in America are rich compared to many in the world how don’t have indoor plumbing, no refrigerator, nor have ever ridden in a car.  Also, when I was growing up, to have one good bathroom with a shower a tub was pretty good, but now hardly any home gets built without at least a bath and a half.  Good has been good to us, don’t you agree?

This has, like many other things, has crept into the church in the form of thinking something like this. “If you’ve got nice things, God must be blessing you.”  Well, maybe he is, and maybe he’s just allowing it to happen.  First, let’s get one thing straight.  Tithing is an essential part for a Christian.  I believe that if a Christian doesn’t tithe, the he’s robbing God.  I can write more on this doctrine but won’t know.  “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Malachi 3:8-10.  lest someone be contentious and say this is just Old Testament, let me point out that Christ commended tithing when he was rebuking the scribes and Pharisees, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” Matthew 23:23  In the more than ten years I have pastured, I have never harped much on tithing although I teach it.  Why, because, while essential, it not the weightiest matters and I never want to give the impression that I’m always out for money, because I’m not.  But I had to bring this out to point out that God can and will help those who tithe and give.  

But now to the point.  When you and I get up in the morning, God does not say to his angels, “Now I wonder how I can make my servant richer today”.  On the contrary, we are HIS servants!  It is completely unscriptural to say that, just because someone has a nicer home, a bigger car, and better job that he or she is blessed by God more.  In fact, the scripture almost teaches the opposite.  “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”  1 Timothy 6:9-10  The poor Christians in some third world countries are no doubt more blessed by God than we are in America.  “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” James 2:5  

In closing, I don’t think we should have to all be poor in order to be right with God.  He does bless those who serve him with prosperity and will meet our needs, however we must flee from the mindset that only the rich are blessed by God.  That is totally unscriptural.  

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