I hope everyone had a wonderful, Christ-centered Christmas. Ours was quiet and uneventful. Most of our nearby family members were traveling elsewhere, so we had the day pretty much to ourselves.
Recently, a friend posted this on Facebook (H/T to Bob S.!):
One day a very wealthy father took his son on a trip to the country for the sole purpose of showing his son how it was to be poor. They spent a few days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.
After their return from the trip, the father asked his son how he liked the trip. “It was great, Dad,” the son replied. “Did you see how poor people can be?” the father asked. “Oh Yeah,” said the son.
“So what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father.
The son answered, “I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.
"We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.”
The boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added, “It showed me just how poor we really are.”
Too many times we forget what we have and concentrate on what we don’t have. What is one person’s worthless object is another’s prize possession. It is all based on one’s perspective.
Sometimes it takes the perspective of a child to remind us what’s important!This got me to musing about the Biblical perspective on wealth.
The Bible teaches us that money and wealth, although not good or bad in and of themselves, have the potential to be used both for great good and for evil.
It is helpful to remember that Jesus, during the time of His earthly ministry, was far from being a wealthy man. “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Matt 8:20; Luke 9:58)
Jesus said that when we love wealth more than God, it is impossible to enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 19:16-24; Mark 10:17-25; Luke 18:18-25)
Jesus also said that riches can be deceitful, preventing the gospel from taking root and bearing fruit. (Matt 13:22)
The Apostle Paul tells us that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil that lead us away from the faith. (1 Tim 6: 10-11)
There are many, many warnings throughout the Scriptures about how wealth can be deceitful, a false hope, used by Satan to keep our eyes focused on things of the earth rather than things of God, used by rich men to oppress poor men, and so on.
On the other hand, money can be used for great good. Jesus, although poor Himself, did have some wealthy friends. There is evidence that John the son of Zebedee had a lot of influence at the palace of the high priest. (see John 18:15-16. Most scholars equate the unnamed disciple with John.) Joseph of Arimathea was a member of the ruling Sanhedrin with enough wealth to allow him to own a private tomb. It also seems that the family of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were at least fairly well off.
So, bottom line, is having money or material riches good or bad?
If you are depending on them rather
than on God to get you through life, they are fatally bad, on a spiritual level. On the other hand, if you have them, and give God the glory by using them in His name to accomplish His purposes, they are priceless.
If you use them to gain the praise and/or admiration of men, they are fatal. If you use them to God's glory, they are priceless.
It's not exactly even WHAT you do with it, but WHY and HOW you do it. See Acts 4:32-5:11, about a man named Joseph and a couple named Ananias and Sapphira. Here's the story. At this time very early in church history, "the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. (4:32)" In that spirit, Joseph (along with many others) sold some property and donated the proceeds to be given to those believers who were in need. Ananias & Sapphira also sold some property, but they held back part for themselves, and then apparently lied about it, claiming they were giving all of the proceeds. Peter told Ananias that the money was theirs to do with as they wished, but for attempting to lie to the Holy Spirit, they paid with their lives.
You get the idea? It's not the money, it's the attitude towards it that matters.
If God has blessed you with material wealth, please pray that He shows you how to use it for HIS glory and not your own. If He has blessed you with poverty, give Him thanks for preventing you from being tempted to glorify yourself, thank Him for whatever provision He does provide to you, and pray that you avoid being tempted to feel sorry for yourself.
Thank you all for reading!
Have a happy New Year, and stay safe out there.
Ron and the Debster