Christianity 201

October 6, 2016

Do You Love Money?

Today’s devotional is a return visit to the website The Domain for Truth by Jim Lee. This is a two-part article, of which we’ve printed the first half here. Click the title below to read this at source or visit the site through the link to part two at the end of today’s reading.

dollar signHow do you tell if you are a lover of money?

Christian ought not to be lovers of money (1 Timothy 6:10).  But this challenge is harder than most think.

Then there is this prediction by Paul: “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy,” (2 Timothy 3:1-2).  Given the times that we are living in how much do we need to be discerning to see if we are lovers of money!

Of course people can often deceive themselves.  So how do you know if you are a lover of money?  The following are four diagnostic questions.  I tried to make it flow with the acronym “SNAP:”

  1. You scoff at those who point out you shouldn’t love money more than God: “Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him.” (Luke 16:14)
    1. This verse follows right after Jesus saying: “You cannot serve God and wealth.
    2. Thus the Pharisees’ reaction is one of being a cynic and a scoffer of the truth.
    3. Like the case with other sins, when someone point out a pet sin we like, we get defensive…or even go on the offense!  So when you start attacking, ask yourself before God if the issue at hand is your love of money.
  2. You need to commit more sins as a means to satisfy your love for money: “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil….” (1 Timothy 6:10a)
    1. Notice the verse did not say money is the root of evil; rather it says it is “the love of money” that “is a root of all sorts of evil
    2. How do you tell you are a lover of money? The love of money is a sin that doesn’t come alone; ask yourself if there are other sins that are a symptom of the love of money.
    3. Put another way: When you sin, what is the motivation for you to sin? Does money play a part in your motivation to commit those sins?
  3. You apostate as a consequence of your love for money: “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:10b)
    1. Notice that some go so far in their sins of loving money that they “have wandered away from the faith!
    2. They worship money so much that money and material possessions has become their functional gods that gives them satisfaction and their identity rather than God or Christ!
    3. See this as a serious sign you are in dangerous waters: The things of God suddenly becomes not interesting to you.
  4. You pierce yourself with grief as a consequence of your love for money: “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil…and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:10c)
    1. It is not a happy apostasy; rather we see it comes with the consequences of “many griefs
    2. Yet it was self-inflicted since they “pierced themselves
    3. It’s true when Proverbs 13:15b tells us “But the way of the treacherous is hard.

…So how do you combat the love of money? Think of the word “MARK,” and click to read: How Do You Combat the Love of Money – Part 1.

October 15, 2014

Jesus: Don’t Bank on Inheritance

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:33 pm
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Micael Grenholm writes at the blog Holy Spirit Activism. There are some articles there I think you would enjoy, so click on the title below and then look around by clicking the ‘home’ button. This is one presents a topic I’d never considered before…

Why Jesus Doesn’t Like Inheritance

It isn’t surprising that Jesus often is surprising, but I find this response of His particularly fascinating in that it’s definitely not what I would expect someone else to say:

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:13-15)

Most pastors, rabbis or other kind of leaders I know of would never, ever, give such an answer. They would politely obey the person and strongly encourage the person’s brother to share their inheritance equally. We all want to be fair, right? But Jesus firstly questions why the person views Him as a judge or an arbiter, secondly He warns the whole crowd for greed and for wanting an abundance of possessions.

See, if it’s fair to split an inheritance equally, how much more fair isn’t it to split all the world’s wealth equally? Jesus practiced community of goods with His disciples (John 13:29), and the church continued to do so when He had levitated into Heaven (Acts 2:44-45). But the inheritance of the world is private, those with rich parents inherits more than those with poor parents. Since the world doesn’t have the Jubilee economic system that Old Testament Israel was supposed to have, there is no mechanism to stop this other than tax, which in most cases doesn’t create much equality (in Sweden we used to have an inheritance tax, but the conservative “Christian democratic” government abolished it).

A couple of months ago I wrote about how economic inequality often is rationalized through claiming that hard work lies behind personal wealth, but I argued that this is wrong since may poor people work much harder than the rich – instead most wealth is inherited, and a lot of times it was originally collected through exploitation, slavery and war (and still is, to some extent). Basically, fairness isn’t just splitting inheritance equally between the inheritants, fairness is questioning why we want a lot of inherited wealth.

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ’

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21)

We should not desire to be rich, we should desire to be faithful to the Lord and do good deeds towards the poor and destitute. If we live simply, give away as much as we can and care for people and God’s creation, we will be much more blessed than if we had just been longing for the wealth of our parents.