Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Of God and mammon

What’s that funny word at the end of the title, you ask?  It’s the King James Version word for money, God has a lot to say about money in His Word, and I will expound on some of it below.

My mother used to say, “Money is the root of all evil,” but she, along with many others, have misquoted the verse.  It actually reads, “For the love of money is the root of all evil.” (emphasis mine) (1 Tim. 6:10) Money in and of itself is not evil, since we need money to purchase food, clothing, housing and other necessary items, but loving money is evil.  Another verse that relates to this is “You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matt. 6:24(b), Luke 16:13(b)) So here's the bottom line - what’s more important to you, God or money?  Jesus said that where your treasure is, there your heart is also. (Matt. 6:21, Luke 12:34) We should love God more than we love money.  If we love money more than we love God, then our heart is in our wallet and in our bank accounts and not focused on God. Jesus says to seek God first, then all these things will be added to you. (Matt 6:33, Luke 12:31)

Jesus says that we should not store up treasures on earth, but in heaven, where things do not rust or rot.(Luke 12:33(b)) So you ask, “How am I supposed to store up treasures in heaven?”  Jesus told the young man who wanted to know how to be perfect and have eternal life that he should sell what he had and give it to the poor.  (Matt. 19:21, Mark 10:21, Luke 12:33). As you may recall, the young man walked away sadly, for he had great  possessions.  In Luke 12:16-22, Jesus tells a parable about a man who had so many crops, he had no room to store them, so he tore all his barns down and built a bigger one. He thought he could lay back and take it easy, since he had enough to last for years.  However, God came that night for that man's soul, and all his goods went to others.  If we share our treasures with those who need them, we are storing up treasures in heaven. 

We see from Scripture that God does not bestow great wealth on all those who believe in Him, contrary to what the wealth and prosperity preachers teach; otherwise, all believers would be rich, and people would get saved because they wanted to be rich. Paul supported himself by working as a a tentmaker.  He didn’t make a living from his preaching.  A study of Scripture reveals that Job and Abraham were rich men.  But what about those believers who are blessed with monetary gain?  Paul instructs that those people should give to the poor (1 Tim. 6:17-19), and Job and Abraham shared their fortunes, Job with widows and orphans, (Job 31:38) and Abraham with his employees.  Paul says that we should be content with what we have. (1 Tim. 6:6)
For those of us (myself included) who worry about how the bills are going to get paid, let alone purchase needed items or take care of repairs, Jesus has some words of wisdom for us.  He tells us not to worry, or in some Bible translations, not to be anxious. (Matt. 6:25, 31) Jesus tells us that we are worth more than the lilies or the grass that God clothes. (Matt. 6:28-30) The Father knows we need clothes and food, and that He cares for us more than for the sparrows or the grass.  (Matt. 6:31-32) Paul writes that God will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:19)

Our family, like many others, has had a hard row to hoe financially this year.  My husband is only working part time and we have been having a difficult time paying our bills. He is looking for another job, but when you’re over 40, it’s hard to get hired.  I thought the Lord was leading me to start my own Thirty-One Gifts business, but when I paid for the kit, our mortgage check bounced.  I have not had much success with the business. I think that this is God’s way of telling me, “No, this is not for you.” Then in September, my husband had to have shoulder surgery, and he was off work for 8 weeks.  He didn’t qualify for workers’ compensation, nor was he eligible for short-term disability.  He is now back to work, but is getting grief from some of his co-workers about not being able to perform the job duties that they were used to having him perform. Back in October, I almost lost my job at the law firm I work at when the partner I was assigned to left the firm and took one of the associates that I was assigned to with him, leaving me with only one associate to work for.  The law firm was going to terminate me, but the partner persuaded them to let me keep my job.

We also have home repairs that need to be taken care of.  Instead of whining to the Lord for money to get this stuff fixed, I have decided to take a different tack.  Thank you, Lord, that although the tree in the front yard has been dead for a year and a half, the tree has not fallen down.  Thank you, Lord, that although the gutter on the back of the house is coming off, it hasn’t fallen off yet.  Even though we can’t drive hubby’s truck because we can’t afford to purchase the annual license plate sticker and get the driver’s side door repaired, we live close enough to the Metrolink station so that I can walk there on the days that hubby works so that I can take the Metrolink to work.  I am thankful that we could sell some jewelry to help replenish the checking account last month when a check bounced.  I am thankful that I still have a job and that my husband has a job.  I am thankful for a couple of Internet friends who I have never met who have assisted us financially in our time of need.  Please bless them, Lord.  I write these paragraphs not to beg for assistance, but to show what we are going through. I'm sure we're not the only folks going through financial difficulties. 

God has been after me to write this blog post for a long time, but I kept putting it off.  I can find a hundred and one excuses not to do something, can’t you?  I was reading in Haggai the other night about how the people were slacking off on rebuilding the Temple after the return from Babylon and God withheld the rain and the crops until they had done what He told them to do. I realized that God was speaking to me – get that blog post done I want you to write!  Could it be He is withholding financial blessings from us until I get this blog post done and published?  I don’t want to speak for God as far as that (as mentioned above, I should be content with what I have and I don’t want to sound like the “name it and claim it folks”), but I should be listening and obeying when He tells me to do something, regardless of whether I get any rewards or not.  Please forgive me, Lord.

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted last!  I hope this post was edifying.  Thanks for reading and see you next time!