Posts Tagged ‘money’

James 5:1-6 (NASB95)
1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you.
2 Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten.
3 Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!
4 Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.
5 You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.
6 You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you. 

James 5:1-6 is directed to wealthy landowners who had joined the fellowship of believers, but still lived selfishly and oppressed their fellow Christ followers. They had not repented of their love of money, so the fruit of faith was not evident in their lives. James details the landowners evil behavior (not paying their employees and letting the workers starve to death while they lived in the lap of luxury) and warns them of a just reward for their actions.

This letter is a good directive on how to reprove someone who professes Christ, but does not live accordingly. Notice it was not that these people were wealthy, but that they valued money more than they valued their brother that their sin was so grave.  Gently confronting someone with their sin in an attempt to reconcile them to Christ is the merciful thing to do. The ultimate objective of God’s discipline is always reconciliation. He patiently bears our sin and draws us near to Him. But He is holy and righteous and loves us too much to sit back and watch us destroy ourselves.

Many times the only thing that rectifies our focus from ourselves to God is calamity. Eventually the hammer will fall. The question is: who will be left standing? The answer is: only the ones on their knees. Spend this day in prayer for our nation, hope for a people with penitent heart and revival in our land.

Isaiah 45:5-7 (NASB95)
5 “I am the Lord, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me;
6 That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other,
7 The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.

No, believers exercise freedom under grace and, as such, the church is no longer subject to the requirements of Old Testament Law. We give of our time and of our material provision by faith, cheerfully and generously, limited only by ability and/or desire. Even if a Christian wanted to tithe as directed by the prophet Malachi, they would be unable to for, among other things, the Temple no longer exists. And while some may try to draw comparisons of the Temple to a church building, that temporal similarity does not substantiate translating the tithe and offerings of Malachi into the New Testament church requirements.

Perhaps a more accurate question should be, “Is a Church administration acting under biblical principals in requiring a tithe of its members?” Many ministries in err appeal to Malachi 3:8-10 to support that requirement and to guilt its membership into compliance. The answer to this question is again “no”, they cannot require a tithe of its members and claim biblical support. However, a church administration does not violate biblical principals if it requests monetary gifts from those who benefit from its ministry. But let me be clear, tithing is not a means to gain mercy or favor from God. The teaching that God can be manipulated by our works is not supported by scripture, in fact, the Bible teaches against this false teaching.

In life we all ultimately have to choose between two pains: the pain of regret or the pain of discipline.

No one but God knows the consequences of our country’s choice yesterday, but we do know that living with those consequences is inevitable. It is a reality of life. We can all blame the establishment for getting us into our current financial mess. But if we are all really honest with ourselves and examine our own bank accounts and credit debt, we are forced to admit some level of responsibility.

And so now we are promised change. Will our government begin to exercise discipline in its financial dealings? Time will tell. I feel compelled to ask, how much does it have to hurt before we are motivated to discipline ourselves? Do we have to be forced by our government to spend less because we have less to spend? Maybe change doesn’t have to begin at the top, maybe change starts with me.

We are a nation of super consumers. I am contributing to the “success” of my economy by raising four mini-super consumers just like me. I think we all realize (though some may be reluctant to admit it) that we cannot buy our way to happiness. Joy is not to be found at the end of the rainbow in a pot of gold. Perhaps if our culture valued giving more than it valued taking our current state of affairs would be playing out very diffrently. We regret the decisions of the past because we did not discipline ourselves for our future.

And my four mini-super consumers? Are they destined to live with the pain of regret tomorrow?

Not if I choose to live with the pain of discipline today.

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Heb 12:11