Who is a rich man?
“And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” – Luke 12:13-21 (KJV)
A man came to Jesus asking Him to intervene in a wealth-sharing dispute between him and his brother who did not want to share their father’s wealth with him. Jesus answered, telling him He wasn’t made a judge over them. His answer has a two-way application. He wasn’t a judge officially over such matters, but indirectly, He told him that the material life was not the reason or purpose of His coming.
This inspired the teaching against covetousness and the parable of the “rich Fool”, a man society called “rich”; Jesus also acknowledged he was rich, and that means he was rich! Yet, heaven called him a fool. Why?
1) He thought the security of life depended on the earthly acquisition: an abundance of wealth, education, connection, location, etc. Sadly, many hold this view today, even in Church, that the more wealth a man has, the more secure he is. This lie looks so golden, whereas it is deception in its highest form, and the creator of the end time god – mammon.
Jesus warned against the deceitfulness of riches and taught that a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses.
2) He believed the things he got were results of his labour and hard work. Again, this is another sad thing in Christendom. There is a general belief that the harder a person works, the richer he would be. Over the years, the “prosperity message” has hoodwinked many a believer into a frenzy of going to work very early in the morning and coming back late at night “only to eat the bread of sorrow”, forgetting that “the race is not to the swift …”
3) He made plans as though he had power over his life. We often times forget that our lives belong to God and are in His hand, and He can make a demand of the life at any time. Job reminds us that no man has the power to retain the spirit (life) in him. When God calls, we respond. But hear this “rich man” speak as though he had power over tomorrow and can resist the call of God. People think some are being “over righteous” when they add “by the grace of God” to their statement.
4) He built his life on and around things that have no eternal value. Everything changes: nothing in this world is stable or durable. Building one’s hope on a shifting thing is like building without a foundation! How secure are those things after the death of the man? Who will inherit those things?
The frenzy with which man run after these things that the Bible clearly and unequivocally teaches to be “deceitful” is so alarming that it has become a standard of judging who is, and who is not a true believer, forgetting that love of things in the world is enmity with God.
Jesus said anyone who thinks and plans like this way, is regarded by heaven as a fool. (Luke 12:21) Why?
God’s ways differ from ours! The way we see things is not the way heaven see things! (Isaiah 55) What Man calls treasure, heaven calls nonsense! We do not value the things God values!
Solomon realized this and said on his return to God, “all is vanity” (Ecc. 1:2). Vanity means the quality of being without value; futile, useless, nonsense! That is where Man’s heart is, and God is clearly disappointed in this.
“O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah.” – Psalm 4:2 (KJV)
Man’s heart is clogged up with the “weeds” of this world – the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. All these dull the heart, choke the word of God and makes one unfruitful in godliness.
What are we expected to do?
This is a heart situation, because where the treasure of a man is there will his heart be also, and since man cannot fix himself, only God, Who can farm or cultivate the heart can. But He will not; until we willingly come to Him.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – Romans 12:1-2 (KJV)
We need to come to Him; to present ourselves to Him to weed off “the cares of this world” from our hearts. For this, He calls us, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28 (KJV)
“Come”, He says. Many have not “come”, though they have come to church. However, this is not a Church issue! Many are in church but have not “come” to the Lord. Nevertheless, He knows those that are His. Neither is it a ministry issue. It is not what work you do for Him because on that day He will say to some, “depart from me ye that work iniquity, I know you not”. It’s like saying, “I don’t know you, I don’t remember seeing you; you never came to me!”
The proof of your coming to Him is in how much value you place on what He values! Jesus asked Peter in John 21, if he loved Him more than the fish, representing all we wake early to pursue and come in late to acquire.
What does God place value on? His Word!
“I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy loving kindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” – Psalm 138:2 (KJV)
How much of His word do we treasure? How have we been handling His word, because this is what shall be used to clean us!
“Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” – John 15:3 (KJV) Emphasis mine.
It is the Holy Spirit that empowers us to live in agreement with the Father, loving what He loves and hating what He hates; and He will not live or dwell in a dirty, polluted heart. Using the instrument of the Word, the disciples were cleaned and made ready to be indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Without the Word spoken to them, they would not have been able to receive the Holy Spirit!
Again, the Bible repeats it.
“That he might sanctify and cleanse it (the Church) with the washing of water by the word.” – Ephesians 5:26 (KJV) Emphasis mine.
In 2 Kings 5, we see the Syrian captain Naaman, instructed by the prophet Elisha to go dip himself seven times in the Jordan River for him to be clean. The number seven, here, represents the mind of God; completeness, nothing to be added or subtracted. The water represents the Word of God. Like Naaman, we should dip ourselves in it to be made whole and clean.
But again, in the Church of today, how much of the Word do we value?
Have you ever relied on, hoped on a provision you had stored at home, and when the need for it came you could not reach it because it had been used by some other for something less important? That was what happened to God!
“And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD. And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” – Ex 32:1-8 (KJV)
Why did God ask them to borrow jewelry from the Egyptians? Couldn’t He have brought them out without it? Was it to beautify them? No!
(1) Egypt attained its power and wealth because of God’s presence.
“And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither. 2 And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. 3 And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand.” – Gen 39:1-3 (KJV)
The prosperity of Egypt happened because of God’s presence in the life of His children, the chosen ones. So ultimately, they belonged to God.
“The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” – Psalms 24:1 (KJV)
“And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD.” – Josh 6:24 (KJV)
“The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts.” – Hag 2:8 (KJV)
(2) God had a plan for His money. People build houses and buy things with their money. God intended the wealth for His house.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering. And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass, And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair, And rams’ skins dyed red, and badgers’ skins, and shittim wood, Oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense, Onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate. And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.” – Ex 25:1-9 (KJV)
What God has given to you is not really for you, but for His work! You are only His instrument of “getting” and “investing” those things!
“The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts.” – Hag 2:8 (KJV)
“The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” – Psalms 24:1 (KJV)
Even the children we call ours belong to God; we are only care-givers or should we say “overseers”, to direct or invest them in the ways of God!
(3) This is where the corruption lies! We have not taken the pain to know why God gave these things to us. Why did He give us the children? Why did He give us the job or business? Why did He give us the car, the house, etc. What He purposed for Himself, we have held on to; and like the children of Israel, we worship those things: our children, our wealth and other blessings! Everything belong to God!
The instrument of this corruption is the blessing God blessed you with. All that you have today; money, children, land, cars, businesses, jobs, everything, are given to you by the Lord! Not for you but for His Kingdom and glory!
Today many claim to serve God but are carried away by wealth; the wealth they have and those they don’t have!
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” – Matt 6:24 (KJV)
MAMMON! This is the end-time god! They worshiped him in the desert and died; and now in the new dispensation, the New Covenant Church has been corrupted and many are dying spiritually!
On their own, these things are good. But they become corrupt anytime they enter into the heart! God should dwell here! Any other thing that enters there becomes corrupt! Why?
It takes up part of the heart and God will not have part! He deserves and demands all or nothing! A divided heart is a corrupt heart! You cannot serve God and mammon! This is the reason some Christians and their worship are accepted by God: a divided heart!
“Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness…… “ – Ezek 28:17 (KJV)
This was what He said of Lucifer. God is no respecter of persons. His standard is His standard; it remains the same and does not change.
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” – Ex 32:7-8 (KJV)
Our hearts should constantly be examined and whatsoever exalts itself above God in our heart should be cast down.
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” – 2 Cor 10:5 (KJV)
This is done when we refuse to hold anything in our hearts that may turn our hearts from God. We should not treasure anything above God. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” – Ex 20:3 (KJV). This first commandment is still potent today!
Jesus would say
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” – Matt 6:19-21 (KJV)
In other words brethren BE ANXIOUS FOR NOTHING!
Success in whatever you have chosen to do, does not come without a price. Nothing in life is free! Even Salvation cost God and Jesus something.
How much are you willing to pay for success?
You have to be willing and obedient to eat the fruit of the land.
“If ye are willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:” (Isaiah 1:19).
Success is expensive and if you want it, you have to pay for it!
The price to pay for success is nothing but a resolute determination.
A mountainous determination to succeed is the price to pay. A strong desire to counter disgrace poverty, failure, misfortune, etc, must be put in motion day and night; in thought and in deed.
A resolute determination is a mixture of desire and expectation.
I read a story of people engaged in a week long prayer asking for rain. On the last day of the programme the Minister suddenly realized that not a single person, including himself, came with an umbrella all through the days of the programme. There was no burning desire!
It takes a desperate desire to succeed!
“He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.” (Proverbs 10:4).
Diligence means hard work. A person who works hard is a diligent person. Laziness, idleness, is not tolerated by a diligent person.
Poverty, like a vagabond, stalks everyone.
It takes diligence, hard work, to keep it at bay.
A diligent person does not need “motivation” to work! Joseph was diligent in the house of Portipher; he did every available and undone work that came to his attention. He needed no external motivation to work. His motivation was from inside. A diligent person works for himself, even if employed. He works almost round the clock, consumed with the passion of the work.
A diligent person places value on the work and derives satisfaction when work is done and done excellently; this fulfillment, the satisfaction that follows a work well done is what he values more than the financial reward.
May we learn to look beyond financial reward and see the worth of the inner reward; a thing money cannot buy!
“Book Me Down!” He told the woman. That had been his language for years. He had become a well known customer in that grocery store; so popular was he that a book was opened for him, to take eventry of everything he purchased and how much he owed.
The woman started to write even before he asked her to and this hurt him especially as people had thought him to be unable to meet his need without going into debt.
The astronomical height of his bill had always surprised him at the end of every month that he could have argued it out had it not been that it was written, and with dates. After settling the old bill, virtually nothing would be left from his salary other than money for paying house rent and the electricity bill. He found himself buying again on credit! A circle he tried to, but could not break. He had prayed and fasted to no avail.
Many are in that vicious circle. A circle of shame that once entered into is difficult to come out. My wife and I were once in that circle. We had taken groceries on credit. At the end of every month, after paying the old bill we went on another circle of credit buying as financially everything would have been used to settle the previous bill. We took up organizing evening lessons to meet up, but the circle continued. We were virtually working for her! Every money that came in ended in her hands!
It was then we learnt that staying out of credit buying does not depend on the size of your income! Rather the more you earn, the more you want! For months this continued to the point we became ashamed and stopped going by her shop.We would go by a longer route so long as the woman does not see us. It got to the extent that when I saw people looking at me or laughing, I felt they knew about my indebtedness and were laughing at me. My ego was greatly punctured as a man.
We developed a deep seated hatred for credit buying and after searching the scriptures one day, we took some far-reaching measures which, today, we thank God for. You can apply these measures too and I know that as you faithfully follow them that circle shall be broken.
(1) Until you hate a thing, you may not break free from it. There will be that tendency of romancing with it “just this last time”. Yet you keep going back to it. We paid half of the bill and pleaded with the woman to give us another month to bring the balance.
(2) Take the step of Faith! The Bible says that without Faith it is impossible to please God. (Heb. 11:6) You do not need ceremonies to stop! Logic will tell you to go gradual but if you hate the shame, you will not go gradual: you will stop suddenly! There will be a temptation to buy “a little” especially when the pangs of hunger threatens. But if you really want a thing, go all out and pay the price.
(3) Discipline your appetite. You will need to discipline your appetite and prayerfully believe God will supply your need. (Phil. 4:19) If it is a need, God knows and will supply it BUT NOT WANT! We ate no pleasant thing, lost some weight, people talked, but we never wavered from our goal, even when it was like God was not responding. We held on and before long we saw His faithfulness
(4) Cut off little spending. An occasional biscuit, sweets, chewing gum, etc. These loose change or coins you think are useless can go a long way to restructure your finance.
(5) Look for alternatives. Meat disappeared from our meal while our intake of beans and vegetables increased. My wife hated beans, but we were resolved on breaking the circle. We grew our own Vegetables. Rather than buy, we began to sell. If it wasn’t necessary, we didn’t buy. If we had to drink tea, we did so without milk.
(6) Cut down on your transportation! Transportation gulps a huge chunk of income.We cut down on visitation. If the place wasn’t important we never spent money going. In some cases we walked lomger distance just to save money.
(7) Buy bulk. Finally we began buying in bulk. It is a lot wiser and more economical buying wholesale.
Today, though we stopped the evening lessons and selling vegetables, we do not buy on credit anymore. And what more, meat, milk, eggs, e.t.c. It was only a matter of time and the circle was broken. And I am convinced it will be broken in your case too. Only, be steadfast. Do not waver, for a double minded man would never receive anything from the Lord. (James 1:6 -7) It may seem an impossible venture, but remember that “With God, all things are possible.” – Matt 19:26
Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.