The biblical view of money – Part 3

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1 Timothy 6:9 – 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.

A fiery email exchange between Ginia and her older sister Hope appeared in the media this week. They are both daughters of Australian mining billionaire Gina Rinehart.

Hope:

“Gin … I have no way to pay the bills unless I sell myself to the f—— media … I’m so desperate at this point, April’s preschool fees are going to be at least $20,000 … I’m in a corner with a gun at my head, I can’t afford rent, I can’t afford the kids education, I don’t know what else to do or who else to ask, please help”.

Ginia’s reply:

“Hope, I cannot believe this email! … why the hell don’t you just take the 300 MILLION dollars mum has repeatedly offered you and walk away … leave us the hell alone and start looking after my nieces properly! If you need money so badly why are you throwing Ryan some ridiculous birthday in the Caribbean? Just cancel that and pay your daughters school fees!!!”
Source: http://barefootinvestor.com/ newsletter

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The joy of giving

Jesus said, “It is better to give than to receive.” Better in every way.

And actually, giving as God has commanded us is liberating, rewarding, joyous, and profoundly enriching.

In fact, just a brief glance at chapters 8 and 9 will show us something about that. At the beginning of chapter 8 Paul commends the churches of Macedonia. And he commends them because in verse 2 in a great ordeal of affliction they demonstrated an abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.

All of that to say they were afflicted and they were profoundly poor, but they were generous in their giving. In fact, verse 3 says, “They gave according to their ability and beyond their ability and they gave of their own volition.” They gave freely of their own choice, beyond their ability, out of their deep poverty they overflowed with liberality and in the midst of their real affliction their abundant giving brought them great joy.

Verse 4, an interesting thing, “They were begging us with much entreaty for the favor of participation in the support of the saints.” In other words, they were pleading for an opportunity to give. They had found that giving was so rewarding, so blessed, so joyous, so enriching, so beneficial that they were begging for an opportunity to give.

Mining isn’t new

You say, “Well isn’t mining and all of that a modern enterprise?” No, read Job 28, Job is the oldest book in the Bible and Job 28 is about mining. It’s about going down into the ground so deep where no eye has ever seen and coming up with the mine and the gold and the silver and the richness there, that’s not new. Don’t kid yourself. Man isn’t getting better, he’s getting worse as he declines from the Fall. And there was a level of human genius in those early periods that would even exceed us greatly. It’s all for you, every bit of it is for you, every bit of it. Enjoy it. Use it, be enriched by it. Delight in it.

Offending others

…And obviously, as I said last time, you don’t have to have a $250 thousand life style because you have a $250 thousand income. You want to be careful not to offend others, right? Romans 14 and 15, you want to be sensitive to that within reason. But you also at the same time want to thank God for the richness of what He’s given you in this brief temporal life that you live here.

Jesus was born into the middle class

We are not called into poverty. I hear sometimes people say, “Well, you know, Jesus was…Jesus was absolutely poor.” In fact, I’ve seen writers that said, “Jesus was homeless. You know, He grew up with the absolute poor and was homeless.” Well, that’s not right. Jesus stayed with His friends. That’s different. But you need to understand something else. Jesus was not raised in poverty. When God incarnate came into the world He didn’t come into a poor family. Okay? That’s very important to remember.

The poor

The strata of social economic life in Israel, Palestine, would be something like this. On the bottom were the poor and Jesus said you’ll always have them with you. Why? Because they have limitations. Sometimes they have physical limitations, sometimes they have mental limitations, sometimes they have circumstantial limitations because of where they are, but they’re always going to be there. I don’t know if you realize it but the average IQ is under 100. That’s part of God’s design. It’s part of the effect of sin. But there are always going to be people who aren’t able to produce high, aren’t able to generate all kinds of things, and are not going to be able to live the kind of life that certain other people are going to live. Those people must be the object of our love, our affection, our care and our generosity at all times so they too can enjoy the richness and the comforts of life and God is pleased when we do that. But they’re always going to be there.

The wealthy

Then there was, as there always is, generally, there was an upper end of wealthy people. They were the land owners and they were the rulers and they were the people who were in power and authority.

The middle class

But in the middle was a rather significant middle class, usually defined by students of Scripture as craftsmen. They were the farmers and they were the tool makers and instrument makers and they were the artisans.

They made the pottery and they were the ones who were the builders. And that’s the family that Jesus was born into. He was born into a middle-class family.

His father was a…was a construction worker, his father was a builder, he had his own construction business. We usually translate it carpenter, but the actual Greek word is builder. It can be used for a brick mason, or one who uses wood. Joseph was a builder. He had his own business. He was his own business owner.

He had a number of children after Jesus. You remember, quite a number and certainly must have made a living well enough to support them. They lived in a town called Nazareth. They were not in poverty. Jesus had a home and they had a place there to operate his business.

Historians tell us around that time that construction was flourishing in that part of the world due to the Roman expansion. And because that part, particularly Galilee, known as Galilee of the Gentiles, had an influx of Gentile people because it was a trade route, east and west, and north and south, and it was flourishing, building.

And it was very likely that Joseph would have been an excellent carpenter and we know His Son Jesus would have been the best who ever was, and no doubt they had built a successful business and may have been very active. And, in fact, when Joseph died, Jesus as the firstborn son would have inherited the family business. So He didn’t come into the world as a poor, homeless individual.

Work

Proverbs 28:19 extols work. It says, “He who tills his land will have plenty of food, but he follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty.” You want to be poor? Chase the wind. You want to be poor? Chase your schemes and dreams. You want to have plenty? Work…work. Proverbs 14:23 says, “In all labor there is profit, mere talk leads only to poverty.” Work, you make money.

Slavery from borrowing money

Now credit card experts say that once you get $800 in debt, they’ve got you for life because the average American family cannot get rid of an $800 debt because they live at the level of their income.

Amazing. And the typical American carries nine credit cards…count them after church…and owes over $2,000 in debt at 18 percent interest. That’s a form of slavery, folks, it really is. It is a form of slavery. Proverbs 22:7 says, “The borrower is servant to the lender.”You’re a slave to your creditor, you’re a slave to your credit card company. It’s a sad situation.

Scatter

You say, “Why?” Because when you give it away God pays you back. Proverbs 11:24, “There is one who scatters yet increases all the more.” There is one who scatters yet increases all the more. This is an agrarian illustration. He…He is drawing a very interesting scenario. Here’s a farmer, he spends all his money to purchase seed and to get his field ready. He’s got all his money invested in his seed. He goes out and he scatters his seed…he just throws it all over the place. When the crop comes in his seed is multiplied and multiplied and multiplied. There is one who scatters yet increases all the more. That’s the analogy.

Why people don’t have enough money

Hastiness is another reason why people don’t have enough. Proverbs 21:5 says, “Everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.” What does this mean? They spend their money impulsively. They lack patience. They are impulsive. They see it, they want it, they buy it and that’s it.

lack of discipline. You know a good word for lack of discipline is stubbornness. It’s just someone who is just stubborn enough to live their life their way and not really be accountable. Proverbs 13:18, “Poverty and shame will come to him who neglects discipline.” You’ve got to pull your life in. You’ve got to order your life. There are people in debt who just keep getting in deeper debt.

Another reason why people don’t have enough is laziness…laziness. Proverbs 20:13 says, “Do not love sleep lest you become poor.” You want to be poor? Just go to sleep. Don’t wake up. Proverbs 20:13 says, “Open your eyes and you’ll be satisfied with food.” The first key to a successful life, get out of bed. That’s the first one…the earlier the better. Get out of bed. Proverbs 23:21, “Drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.”

indulgence…indulgence. Proverbs says, “The heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty.” The heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty. You look at the homeless again, and you’ve got a combination of laziness and…what?…and drunkenness, alcoholism and drugs. I don’t know what the figure is but it’s in the high 90 percent of those people are in to alcohol and drugs. It’s a combination of laziness and indulgence. The heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty.

…the Bible talks about, craftiness. That’s a good word, maybe not the best.Proverbs 28:19, “He who tills his land will have plenty of food but he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty.” This is the person who has got all these schemes…scheming. This is the person who is always going to strike it rich. They’ve always got a way to get a huge amount of money with a minimum amount of effort.

What to do with your our money

What are you to do with your money? Well we already have said this but let me just say it straightforwardly in this context. Number one, provide for your own needs and the needs of your household…provide for your own needs and the needs of your household. If you don’t work, you don’t eat, so you start with yourself and then if anybody doesn’t provide for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he’s denied the faith and is worse than an infidel, or worse than an unbeliever. So the first thing you do is to take care of yourself and your family, meet your needs and those of your family, very serious with God.

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