Money. Wealth. Stocks. Bonds. Gold. Silver. Welcome to America, where people are consumed with their money and their stock portfolios. And when there is a hiccup in the market, we begin to get worried about our IRAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s and retirement funds. Where did all of this wealth come from?
As I was reading my Bible the other day, I read Deuteronomy once again. It is a book that always challenges me. Deuteronomy 8:6-11 says,
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him. For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass. When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day:Ã¢â‚¬Â
When the Jews were leaving and escaping Egypt, they were headed to the Promised Land. They were going to where the country of Israel was going to be located. In the scriptures above, God describes what the land they are headed to is going to be like. It sounds mighty good doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t it? But God also lays out some conditions. Do not forget Me as God and keep My commandments.
Deuteronomy 8:12Ã¢â‚¬â€œ16 says,
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end;Ã¢â‚¬Â
You see what happens to many people when they get wealth; they forget where that wealth came from. They take it for granted. They think they have acquired all of this wealth by their own hand, and by their own work. But as you will read, they are sadly mistaken.
Deuteronomy 8: 17,18 says,
Ã¢â‚¬Å“And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.Ã¢â‚¬Â
God is in the business of blessing people. He gave you the mind and the body that can do the work that has earned you that income. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Should He give to you or take away from you depending upon whether you have thanked Him for the blessings and wealth in your life, and are obedient to His commandments?
Now be careful what you call wealth. We here in America are abundantly wealthy. Sometimes we compare ourselves to the super rich, and then we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seem all that wealthy. But, if you have ever been on a mission trip to a third world country, or visited a homeless shelter, you realize at that point, that you are officially wealthy. I was reading a study that said that 300+ million people in Africa live on less than a dollar a day. It also said the annual income for people in Sub-Saharan is $300. In the study they took out the average income of South Africa, but even if they included this more wealthy African country, we here in America are still very, very rich in comparison. If you are a teenager with a job, you are earning way more money than folks in southern Africa do. As you see, the word Ã¢â‚¬ËœwealthyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ can take on a whole new meaning when compared this way.
So what do you do with that wealth? Is it spent on you or on the things of God? Since it is more blessed to give than receive and we reap what we sow, how have you been spending your money lately? Do you spend it on you or on others? Take a look at your check book and credit card statements. It is really easy when you do that to find out what you love. I was challenged to do that one time, and I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like what I was reading. But it caused me to do something about it. One of the things I now try to do is to keep my expenses very low so that I can give more money away. Might sound strange to you, but I am at the point now that I would rather bless other people than buy something for myself.
You see I know 1 Timothy 6:10 is true.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.Ã¢â‚¬Â
So to protect myself from loving money too much, I choose to give it away.
Do you remember reading the part of the verses above about the blessings of God, and remembering Him and keeping His commandments? So when judgment comes upon America for all of its wickedness and perverseness, when judgment comes upon America for all of the babies that we have killed, when judgment comes upon America for how we have polluted the world through Hollywood and the music industry, donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be surprised. We have brought it upon ourselves as a nation that does not regard the God of the Bible anymore.
When God decides to crash the stock market, and/or the dollar collapses, and/or when oil is at $200 a barrel and loaves of bread cost an astronomical amount, donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be surprised. We have brought this upon ourselves.
And by the way, when those days come, how will it impact your faith? Will it be stronger or weaker? Will your light shine brighter when the darker days are here?
The wealth that God has given to you is for His glory and His alone. Pay your bills, and then bless many others with your wealth. See how you can get some Bibles into China. See about supporting missionaries. Help a family who is adopting a child from another country to teach them about Jesus. Take your wealth and family and go down to a homeless shelter and bless the socks off of someone. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t give 20% tips, but give 50% tips, and then bless some of the busboys and people working in the kitchen with a tract, book, and some money.
We Christians need to be setting the example in what it means to be givers. It is the only way to live. I have made a commitment to God that I want this to be one amazing year of giving on my part to others. Take another look at your check book and credit cards. See where you have been giving and see if it is at the mall or for the lost souls of others. Make some decisions in the coming days that will glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and Him only. You will not regret it here, or on judgment day.
Until the nets are full,
P.S. I want to share with you one short video link this month. It was a real blessing to me as I watched and listened to it. It is part of the history of the song Amazing Grace by Wintley Phipps. It is a true blessing: