Sunday, April 29, 2007

More About This Money Thing!

On an earlier post the subject of money was discussed with the fact that it has become a prominent "god" in this republic of the United States and that it dominates and actually enslaves the lives of millions of all ages.

A very bitter and dissatisfying fruit produced by this "deity's" influence is greed. You see, in serving this particular "god" one is driven by greed on a 24/7 schedule! This takes place on an individual level and also on a corporate level. Take note at the end of the year as to what corporations report record breaking profits and what we as consumers were paying for whatever it is these leeches in the business world are producing!

Money in itself is a neutral commodity. It is neither good nor evil. But human attitudes toward, desires for, and use of money will either be good or evil depending on choices made by each human individually and a group of humans at a corporate level where power and influence are quite extensive and where manipulation in the worlds of finance and business are not just possible, but all too often a way of life!

The God-fearing and wise approach to money involves the following essentials:

  • The recognition that God owns all things. This basic truth is revealed repeatedly throughout the holy Scriptures. Note just three of many:

    The earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein. --- Psalm 24:1

    "The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine," says the LORD of hosts. --- Haggai 2:8

    "...Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. Now therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name. But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, and of Your own we have given You...."
    --- part of King David's prayer in 1 Chronicles 29:11-14

  • Recognizing that a proportionate share of one's income is to be given in support of God's work going on in the world. Most Christians agree that the tithe (10% of one's income) is the standard of giving to those efforts of sharing the message of salvation and hope through Jesus Christ among all peoples and nations of this present world as mandated by Him in Matthew 28:18-20

    The tithe was practiced under what is known as the Old Testament covenant that was established under the leadership of Moses.

    Reason, coupled with the complete revelation to which we now have access, and the knowledge of Jesus' sacrifice for all the sins of the entire human race leads an open minded person to the conclusion that one can do nothing less than give 10% of our gross income to support the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ everywhere!

    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. --- 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

  • Recognizing the ultimate accountability to God Himself as to how our money was used in addition to all the other facets regarding what we did with our lives while residents in this present world. There are two judgments we need to keep always in mind -- one involves Christians appearing before Christ to have their works "assessed" and rewards or loss handed to them, depending on how serious they were in serving and representing Him during their lives as believers. The issue is not whether they will enter Heaven, but rather the quality of service through obedience which they produced -- wise use of time, abilities, and material goods, including stewardship responsibility of money which was entrusted to their care.

    Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. --- 2 Corinthians 5:9, 10

    According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become manifest; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If any one's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If any one's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.--- 1 Corinthians 3:10-15

    The other judgment involves all who are not Christian -- they too are to be judged on basis of their works. Since these rejected Jesus Christ as the only possible way of being forgiven and thus qualified to enter Heaven, the issue will be the intensity of punishment in Hell. This judgment has been commonly referred to as the "Great White Throne Judgment" for obvious reasons as stated in the book of The Revelation.

    Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
    --- Revelation 20:11-15

    Luke 16 provides some details as to the nature of torment experienced by those who refused to repent of their sins and in this age of Gospel proclamation, have refused to receive Jesus Christ into their lives as Savior and Lord!

While money dominates the vast majority of people, you don't need to let it dominate you -- but only by God's grace and mercy can you be set free from it's tentacles! Another way of looking at it -- it's a bit like handling dynamite -- handle it wisely and carefully and good things can take place through its use -- handle it foolishly and it will destroy you both in time and for eternity!

Parting questions -- is your love for Jesus Christ greater than your love for money? And if your love for Him is greater, what portion of your money is being used to honor Him as Savior and Lord of your life?


Wesley Matthews said...

“give 10% of our gross income to support the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ everywhere”

Great post! Could you expand upon this? Obviously, the local church should be a part of the 10%, but should it be the whole 10%? Should money above the 10% be given to national and international programs or is it part of the 10%? Where do charities and other collections (like “Nothing but Nets”) fit into the giving equation?

How do you know you are supporting the right organization(s) and that the money is being used appropriately? Should the money be spread around to several organizations or just a few?

I have used the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability for information, are there other resources that you recommend for guidance?

Or do we just give to whatever organization is spreading the Gospel and trust that God will use the money how He sees fit?

Thanks for this interesting topic.

Secret Rapture said...

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Read My Inaugural Address
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PA Maverick said...

Once a Christian is committed to giving a tithe, then comes the process of what is to be supported through those gifts.

For many, it is simply giving to the local church where one holds membership. Sometimes that church may have a separate fund for mission outreach and obviously a portion of the tithe should be used to support that.

Our church has but one general fund, but 10% of the offerings received each month are used for mission outreach plus any special offerings from time to time on top of that.

There are independent mission organizations which are not affiliated with any denomination which are doing a good work in sharing the Gospel throughout the world and these are worthy of consideration. An example would be Samaritan's Purse, headed up by Franklin Graham.

The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability is probably the best resource for information on Christian groups and their financial activity. I know of no other which would compare to it. And if a group is not listed with the ECFA, then it may be wise to refrain from supporting such a group.

All giving to the church and/or groups seeking to do the work of advancing the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus in this world is an act of faith -- that is, that the gift given will be used in an ethical way to honor God.

Our giving is done with sincerity and our desire to be faithful in use of material goods placed in our care by the grace of God. If along the way that gift is used by others in a questionable manner, we are not accountable for that, but the persons further down the line are!

As always, prayer is needed in seeking that the Holy Spirit will help us discern the best ways in which to invest our tithes and offerings in God's work.

The thing that is common in the New Testament church is that the people brought in the offerings and a common fund was used to meet needs.

Our choices are greater in number, hence the need to seek discernment as to what God wants of us by way of financial involvement.

Hope this helps a little bit.

PA Maverick said...

To "Secret":

Thanks for stopping by and commenting briefly in spite of the fact that it seems your only purpose has been to promote your so-called "address."

Just a friendly tip -- if you should have the misfortune of being among that vast crowd which appears before the Great White Throne, you need to be aware that there is more than an outside possibility you won't have a chance to utter one syllable, much less give an address! The mighty Creator of this universe and Judge of all human beings will determine the extent to which anyone's jaw bones will be permitted to be in motion and sounds coming forth from the vocal cords!