RICH TOWARD GOD - THE OUTCOME
"In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of life that is truly life." 1 Timothy 6:19 (NIV).
It is quite shocking to realise that God has chosen the way we use our money, of all things, to be the measure of our maturity in this life, and the level of our function in the life to come. What do I mean by that?
Jesus told many stories about men and money. In fact He seems to have a fixation about money. One of His stories illustrates this principle. In Luke 16:1-8, a shrewd manager was about to be fired for mismanaging his master's property. He cut deals with the master's debtors to ensure that he would have friends to take care of him when he was out of work. The master commended him for his foresight,
Jesus was not suggesting that dishonesty is the way to go. As He often did, He used contrast to teach the principles of the kingdom. This man used dishonesty to his advantage. In God's kingdom we are to use generosity to determine our place in God's eternal scheme of things. That might sound mercenary, but, once again we learn that God always confirms the choices we make.
This how Jesus concluded His story: "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own?" Luke 16:10-12 (NIV).
Jesus also had issues with the religious leaders because they used their religious piety as a cover for greed. He constantly warned His disciples that their focus was not to be on money and possessions. Their heavenly Father has pledged to take responsibility for those things if they took care of the affairs of God's kingdom. They were not to be like the pagans whose whole purpose in life is to pursue 'things'.
He taught them that their hearts would always follow their treasure. Generosity towards people in need is the way to put our treasure in the safest place where it can neither be stolen nor corrupted. Treasure in heaven, deposited by generosity and good works, guarantees that there will be a credit balance for us in our time of need.
He also warned that it is impossible to serve two masters. Serving one cancels out serving the other. God and Mammon, the powerful attitude of greed that characterises the dominion of darkness, are irreconcilable enemies because they represent the dispositions of two opposing kingdoms.
Riches are to be the servant, not the master. When we are rich toward God, we understand the responsibility God places on us to steward our resources to make the lives of others better where we have the power to do so. God has given us a way to do it which takes care of those who are our responsibility and frees us to use the rest to take care of our own needs without guilt. Because He teaches us to work in percentages, whether we have little or much, we will always have enough. When we are faithful with the 'little' God gives us now, He will be free to trust us with the 'much' in the life to come.
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