Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Rich (04/26/12)
TITLE: Don't Get Sidetracked!
By Gail Burks
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This major jackpot evoked much discussion among Christians as to whether playing the lottery (regularly) is appropriate or not. There were many believers and non-believers, it appeared, who saved a few dollars, to buy one or more Mega Million tickets for that particular Friday. Even a couple of ministries, that I was aware of, strongly encouraged their congregations NOT to play the lottery; while others stated, if their congregants win, please make sure tithes were given to the church.
So, what is the fascination with getting rich? Is there anything wrong with having wealth? Well, a study conducted, a few years ago, by the Pew Social and Demographic Trends Project, states that 'wealth holds a great attraction for the young under age 30.”
Okay, that seems quite obvious. But, what about others in their forties, fifties, sixties, etc.? This article further states that desiring wealth may be something that wanes as one ages. This sounds probable.
In my twenties, I was confident my husband and I would achieve great material success. But, as time went on, life happened, and some of those dreams, and desires, faded, but, new ones took their place.
Remember the familiar passage from I Timothy 6:10, which states, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs?” This passage doesn't say MONEY is the root of all evil, but the LOVE of money. A big difference. I wonder if the LOVE of money the reason for the escalation of scams and activities we find in the news on a daily basis.
Once in a while, I look at the television show, “American Greed”. It highlights the lives of people, who seemed very devoted and educated in their fields, but became sidetracked by greed, eventually tearing their lives apart. Many were utilizing “PONZI” schemes ---named after Charles Ponzi, a businessman in the early 1900’s – who simply “robbed Peter to pay Paul”. Basically, investors gave money to a seemingly reputable person or company, expecting huge returns in a short period of time. Most of these men and women involved with defrauding family, friends, colleagues and customers, ended up in prison. That was greed.
But, wait. What did Jesus say to the rich man, in Mark 10:21? The bible says he felt love for the man; and then proceeded to tell him, “...You lack one thing. Go, sell whatever you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” The man was then asked to follow Jesus, but his heart could not get past the fact that his assets would be depleted, gone. Jesus didn’t mind the rich man having money, but certainly minded the money ‘having’ him. What would be our response to Jesus?
The bible says, in Matthew 16: 19-24, “....where your treasure is, there is your heart also.” In the previous verses, Jesus reminds us that what we focus on the most becomes primary in our lives.
As seen during the most recent Mega Million lottery, people probably figured 'why not' at least try to win. Although the chances of getting struck by lightning are greater than winning the lottery, thousands of tickets were still purchased in various states.
God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is faithful. My husband and I have come to understand that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are his ways our ways (Isaiah 55:9). He knows the end from the beginning. Therefore, the lack of material wealth or riches should not define us; it does not define who we are.
Let's remember that we, sons and daughters of the most High God, are made in His image and likeness. He is above all things and in all things. He provides us exactly what we need. God makes no mistakes. He is a loving and generous Father.
Being affluent, wealthy, or living an abundant life is an aspiration for many; but, as Apostle Paul so eloquently stated, “I have learned to be content in any and every situation….” (Phil 4:12 NIV). We must do the same.
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