Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I Want To Be Rich!

Some of us are not meant for riches and fame and others are. Some of us can handle it and others are destroyed by it. Just look to the young "stars" of the world. When they are young and forced to be under the guidance of people with some wisdom they do well, but as soon as they are old enough to make their own decisions and throw away the voice of wisdom, the wheels come off the cart and we get to watch another train wreck. It is no different for us "regular" folk.

Jesus told us that it was hard for the rich to enter the Kingdom. In Fact, he likened it to a camel fitting through the eye of a needle. Why so hard? Because if we are dependent on our own means and never realize how utterly dependent we are on Yahweh we will not understand our need for salvation. This is not something new. The problem existed before Jesus' ministry. Moses even addressed it.

As long as the Israelites were slaves in Egypt they needed Yahweh. As long as Israel was wandering around in the desert they needed Yahweh. As long as Israel was at war with the nations they were to destroy in Yahweh's name, they needed Yahweh. But what about after? What about when they had been established, they had a king and their borders were safe? What about when the crops come in and they had a healthy trade? What about when their houses were big and they had everything they need? Would they still understand their dependence on Yahweh?

In Deuteronomy 8 Mosses addressed this well in advance of the problem and warned the nation not to forget Yahweh, all his commands and all that he had done for them or they would be tempted to say:

 ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ (Deuteronomy 8:17)

Moses declared:

And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. (v. 18)

And then Moses gave this warning:

Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. (v.19)

Wealth and contentment itself is not evil but what we allow it to do with our dependence on Jesus is evil, wrong and carries with it consequences.

Jesus warned us not to make the priorities of non-believers our priorities because, as Kingdom dwellers, we have a different system of values. Even Jesus gave us this warning:

Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? (Mark 8:34-37)

Riches and fame are not a problem when we realize their secondary and lesser place in our lives. Not having riches and fame can also destroy us when obtaining them become our greatest priority. The secret to the whole thing is finding contentment in our relationship with Jesus regardless of where we are in the values of this world. It is Jesus' passion for us and ours for him that matters most in all of eternity. We need him for all things. If we have plenty it is by his hand and not ours because he gave us the means. If we don't, maybe it is because he is saving us from ourselves. Don't get distracted.

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