Sunday, March 9, 2008

That Rich "List" -- Are They Really?

Then Jesus said to His disciples, "Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." --- Matthew 19:23, 24

It's almost the same thing as a religious annual ritual -- the Forbes listing of the wealthiest people and who moved up, or down on the list in 2007 -- also the newcomers are mentioned as well. The wealthiest of the bunch has a fortune estimated to be about 62 billion dollars! And, no, it's not Bill Gates who has been #1 in the money making department for a long time, but in 2007 he came in second. Of the 2007 crop of billionaires, six are in their 20's age-wise.

But enough of that -- if you want to get all the details, journey over to the Forbes web site -- get pictures, figures, what they are into, what kind of houses (translate mansions) they live in and how many they have, etc.

God has revealed that true wealth is never measured in terms of how many dollar bills you can rub against each other, or how thick your stock portfolio may be, or how much acreage you may own, or how big your company may be!

While the making of money by the ton drives a majority of people in today's world with greed often proving to be the merciless taskmaster with whip in hand, Jesus explicitly warned about this deadly danger and what the realistic goal in life should be during our journey on this earth:

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." --- Matthew 6:19-21

Wealth that counts beyond the limitations of earth and time is defined in terms such as these;

  • a future residence which will make the most expensive mansions found in this world look like dilapidated shacks by way of comparison -- read it for yourself in John 14:1-3 -- Jesus promised to go and prepare a place for us!

  • we share in Jesus' possessions -- since He made the entire universe, that takes in quite an inheritance -- "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. --- Romans 8:16, 17

  • more on the inheritance -- "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." --- 1 Peter 1:3-5

  • and the reward for faithful service -- more than a gold watch! "His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'" --- Matthew 25:23

Another important thing to remember about handling this thing called money -- God uses a far different standard of measurement when it comes to how we have used it and to what extent we have shared our money for use in His work.

There was a day when Jesus and His disciples were observing those giving their money for God's work. The rich dipped into their money bags and put in their offerings, which seemed to be quite generous. A poor widow woman gave her offering which was described as being two mites -- in our coinage it was maybe about 2 cents. What a shock when Jesus told His disciples that the widow have given more than all the rest of the wealthy people added together! He further explained that they put in some out of their abundance, but she put in all that she had -- her purse was totally empty when she left the temple that day. But the rich still had money jingling in their bags!

It is obvious that whatever your state in life may be -- an income measured in billions, millions, many thousands or a few thousand, or maybe just a few hundred dollars, God doesn't take so much notice of the amount you give, but how much do you have left over after you have done your giving for the expansion of His Kingdom in this chaotic world!

The apostle Paul addressed the issue in these words:

"But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows..... Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy." --- 1 Timothy 6:9, 10, 17

For more details on this issue see Reminders When Mansion Shopping! A link at the bottom of that area will bring you back to this place. Enjoy a look at what real and lasting wealth is all about!

Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?' So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry."' But God said to him, 'You fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?' So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." --- Luke 12:16-21

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