The following following are some of my thoughts on the subject of wealth which I began wrote when I lived in Hollywood and was building my business. I was getting preoccupied with money and didn't see the dangers of having too much of it perhaps as clearly as I should. I never finished part two or three but here is what I recorded. Hopefully you'll glean some benefit from this material. What is wealth? How to acquire it and how to keep it. Is the pursuit of wealth even desireable?
In his book, The very, very rich and How They Got That Way Max Gnther says, you're not very, very rich untill you've made your first 100 million dollars.
Well, that leaves me and you out of the equation. Keep in mind Max Gunther was not to my knowledge a Christian when he wrote this book.
Now think what you could do with a hundred million dollars. You could feed 100 people one million times or you could feed 1,000,000 people a hundred times. You could certainly reach millions of people with the gospel of Jesus Christ and " make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness (Luke 16:9)
Most of us will never come close to having this much money but ask yourself what you would do if some serious money came your way.
I know you're thinking I could give it to the Lord, right? Well, the Lord is not poor. He doesn't need your money. He owns "the cattle on a thousand hills" As the creator of heaven and earth he sovereignly controls and disposes all things for His own pleasure and this includes wealth, and for his own glory. (Revelation 4:11; Col. 1:16)
" There's gold in them there hills" a miner reportedly shouted during the 1840's gold rush. If "them there hills" represent our minds then perhaps the richest source of worldly wealth is in our thoughts, ideas and imaginations. Our minds give rise to all sorts of actions.
We act out or play out our faith first from our mind. That is, we formulate our ideas, goals, and plans by first making a mental map. Then we must put these immaterial concepts into first gear and hit the throttle or accelerator. As we gain momentum we shift gears and then repeat this process until we are moving at a nice pace. Of course,not everybody moves at the same pace. It seems that some of us have broken throttles or we've skipped gears and are just lugging along. Or maybe we've been simply coasting along just enjoying the scenery around us, content to keep in low gear -not really in any hurry. We know where we are going and if it takes a little longer than most people that's okay.
Others have a focus and destination and are eager to get rich. They drive fast and furious.
This eagerness can result in debt and poverty if coupled with enough risk and greed or death to stretch the analogy further since a strong correlation exists between debt and death.. Then again some individuals seem to have the Midas touch. Every thing they touch turns to gold ( not a good thing,however, if you are hungry) For example, whenever this individual plans a skiing trip it just happens to snow. This person may be running late for the opera but when he arrives the fat lady hasn't sang yet so it"s okay. When his car runs out of gas there is a gas station just around the corner.
This individual lives by the proverbial "early bird gets the worm"maxim. He arrives at the grocery store early unaware that the owner just put out 50 bags of FREE popcorn to the first 50 customers. Don't we wish! The right place at the right time. What a wonderful marriage isn't?
Speaking of popcorn, I recently heard on Family Radio that people are like popcorn. Did you ever consider that people are like popcorn? They were once but hard kernels unpopped and unedible. Then they became like while fluffy morsels of delight especially to the movie going audience. The change took place within and the unpopped kernel was turned inside out . A radical change took place. People also must be turned inside out. They must be changed and converted. As the Christian pop singer Barry Mcguire said Christians are like bullfrogs and butterflies because they've both been born again.
Yes, an abundance of innovative ideas which, if acted upon, at the right time, with enough energy and enthusiasm and persistence along with God's common grace can make you very rich materially speaking that is but this is carnal. Material success brings power and status which are highly esteemed by carnal minds but remember "that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God" (Luke 16:15) and "to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." (Rom. 8:6)
Not all rich people are wicked. Would it be safe to say that most probably are? Men like Abraham, Job, David and Solomon were blessed with much material wealth and were godly.but riches can and often are gained unethically and with an atheistic ambition. James warns the rich of his day to "weep and howl for the miseries that shall come upon you....Behold the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your field, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth; and the cries of them who have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; " (James 5:1.4,5)
It may not be a sin to be rich but it is a sin to covet another man's wealth and to have a carnal attitude toward riches in not using them for the glory of God.
In setting our priorities in life we should remember that "Riches profit not in the day of wrath, but righteousness deliverith from death."(Proverbs 11:4)
How often we fail to study the dangers of too much wealth. Every where we turn there is some new guru telling us how to get rich on the internet or through this MLM opportuniity or through this hot new franchise. You can hype anything but where is the truth? About the only place you can find it is in the dictionary. Seriously, truth is found in a person- the person of Jesus Christ. He declared, "I am the way, the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me.(John 14:6)
True wealth is also found in Jesus Christ. It is spiritual in nature and cannot be purchased with gold. Moses, by faith, esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. (Hebrews 11:26) In
Colossians 2:3 the apostle Paul said in Christ "are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge"
There is the righteous rich and the wicked rich and they both have different destinations. There is the righteous poor and the wicked poor and they both have different destinations. Thus, where one spends eternity is not determined by how much wealth one accumulates in this lifetime but rather by one's relationship to Jesus Christ. "For a man's life consists not in the abundance of the things he possesses" Luke 12:15. If our entrance into heaven were dependent upon our total net worth , some of us just wouldn't make it would we?
Read the description (some would call it a parable) of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31. Here you will find a rich man who Christ doesn't even give the honor of naming.
"In Hell he (the rich man) lifted up his eyes being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom ". See here that a godly poor man becomes heaven's favorite while a wicked rich man becomes fuel for hell-fire! A word of caution here. Note: The rich man didn' t go to hell because he was rich and neither did the beggar Lazaus end up in heaven because he was poor. The rich man used his wealth only to please himself. " He fared sumptuously every day" being clothed in purple and fine linen. For all we know this rich man may have got his wealth lawfully without fraud but by labor and so he might have thought to himself, "there is no sin to live comfortably and to please myself; afterall, I've worked hard for my wealth and is there any harm in spending it as I please? For all his self-deception and self-justification he perished forever in his prosperity under God's wrath and curse.
What made the difference in these two men was that one died a faithful man, although a beggar, as was evidenced by his humility. The rich man died being hard-hearted to God's poor. He had lived for the pleasures of the senses.
Many today, like the Jews in Christ's day suppose that prosperity and great riches are a sign of being in favor with God. Like the success preachers of today they " do err not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God."
The Pharisees didn't like what Jesus taught concerning wealth. They were outwardly pious but inwardly covetous (Matt. 23:14; Titus 1:11) They were trying to serve two masters- the Lord and their money but this is impossible "for you cannot serve God and mammon" (Matt. 6:24) Now mammon is a Syriac word and means gain so that whatever we count gain in this world is mammon. Mammon could be your purse, your pleasures or your praise from mankind. It could be your sleep, your sports, your sexual indulgence. In summary it is your preferred sensual, secular self interests in opposition to God's kingdom interests. We cannot love or serve or obey both God and mammon because they are in competition to one another. God says "My son, give me your heart" but mammon says "No, give it to me" God says, "Be content with such things as ye have" but mammon says like the old beer commercial,
"No, grab all the gusto you can because you only go around once in life" Is wealth a desireable thing? Just what is wealth anyway and if we do manage to acquire some of it how do we keep it and avoid it's loss?
Before anwering the question, "Is wealth a desireable thing we should first define what wealth is. According to the first edition of The Random House College Dictionary wealth is 1. a great quantity or store of money or property of value 2. All goods that have a monetary or exchange value .
I believe that God wants everyone to have a measure of wealth. There are three legitimate ways to acquire wealth. One is through inheritance, Another way is by gift and a third way is by labor. Theft is not an option since it is a violation of the eight commandment "Thou shalt not steal." (Exodus 20:15) Just how much wealth is enough?
One of the Wesley's had this attitude toward wealth. "Earn all you can, save all you can and give all you can"
Certainly we are to labor so that we can provide for ourselves and our family. We are to save so as to give to others in need and to promote the gospel.
Carlton Pruitt ministers the gospel to the Los Angeles area. Formerly a Hollywood actor (SAG member)and junk removal expert he now spends most of his time studying the scriptures, writing articles, hymns and poems and doing street preaching.
See his videos on http://www.youtube.com Type LAStreetPreacher in the search bar. CONTACT at Carlton2061@gmail.
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