Archive for May 2015

The Christian and Money [Part 3]   Leave a comment

Christian's Money

Christian’s Money

Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink.I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me. “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’“And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’ Mat. 25:34-45

The story of the rich man and Lazarus illustrate to us that the rich man did not care for Lazarus. Lazarus was satisfied with scraps he could get from the rich man’s table.

As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores. ” Luke 16:21

Being inconsiderate or uncharitable is observed by the One in heaven. It is a serious offense unto our Lord when we withhold acts of charity to our brothers or sisters in need. One thing common in the story of the The Final Judgment(Mat. 25) and the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16), was the consequence of  neglecting God’s command. Whoever we are, we have always learned that it is right to help the needy. But the sin of selfishness is what retain us from giving. The rich man knew it but did not care.

Abraham told the rich man “Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote…If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead” Luke 16:29,31

Another warning here, is the sufficiency of the scripture to warn. People know what is right to do, but prefer to remain selfish.

Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to poverty will be cursed.”Prov. 28:27

Those who did not host strangers, did not feed the hungry or did not visit the sick were not ignorant, they just did not care.

These were their arguments.:”We did not see you, if we knew it was you we would have helped you“. James warned us of prejudice:

My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him? But you dishonor the poor! Isn’t it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court? Aren’t they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear?” James 2

That moment we say in our heart that “It’s none of my business“, “Other people will take care of the poor“, “It’s not my ministry” or other legitimate replies, we label ourselves as goats. Both the sheep and goat have the knowledge of what is right. What differentiate them is action.

James said: “ What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.” James 2:14:17

 

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Posted May 14, 2015 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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The Christian and Money [Part 2]   Leave a comment

Christian's Money

Christian’s Money

But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” Mat. 6:3

But when you give to someone in need

It is taken for granted that Christians should give, no matter how much. Caring for the poor, the widows, the orphans and the weak are debts Christians have. Christians have been commissioned to take care of such people.

The Jews called the poor’s box the box of righteousness. That which is given to the poor is said to be their due” – Matthew Henry

Money and gold belong to God (Haggai 2:8). Part of the money God blessed us with is reserved to care for needy people. God has granted poor people some ownership on our earnings. It is their due and it is our duty to give. Are we good stewards of that money God entrusted us to care for the needy? When God calls us to give shall we refuse, give grudgingly or cheerfully as we deem right?

The neighbor of my wife’s uncle is someone who gives grudgingly. One day he came to offer some fruits to my wife’s uncle with this motive “I know you use to eat rubbish, I brought these fruits for you”. It is better not to give if this is the attitude of giving.

There is no specific amount to give as it was under the old covenant. If we have decided in our heart to give cheerfully an amount of money, this is the amount that should be given. Not less, not more.

Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say, They share freely and give generously to the poor.Their good deeds will be remembered forever.” 1 Cor. 9:6-9

James described pure religion as the: “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you” James 1:27

Ministers like Muller, Whitefield, Moody or Spurgeon believed firmly that it was God’s will for them to build orphanages. Their lives were a living testimony of their convictions. Only God knows where all these money came from to feed all these children!

Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.” 1 Tim. 6:17-19

Storing up treasures on this earth is temporary. It will not endure forever. Storing up treasures in heaven is eternal. How then can we have such eternal rewards? By doing good deeds and helping the needy. These good deeds in themselves do not save our soul but render us rich. Good deeds do not bring salvation but they are evidence and fruits of salvation.

The riches you impart form the only wealth you will always retain” – Martial.

Wealthiness is not necessarily a sign of God’s favor. When we think about the story of the rich man and Lazarus, we can deduce that we’ll be judged on the way we manage our wealth. It is not mentioned that the rich man went to hell because he was selfish. However, he did not care for a man who stood at his door. However, he did not care for a man who stood at his door. If God ruled his life, he would have surrendered His wealth to God and help poor Lazarus.

The bible has a lot to say on money and  love. When these 2 words are mentioned together, there’s an evil behind.

At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores.” Luke 16:20

Jesus made no mention that the rich man lived in debauchery, was a transgressor, adulterous or criminal. What then was this crime that dragged him to hell? The rich man did not suspect nor did family know that this man was heading to hell. His sins were selfishness and unrighteousness.

You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.” 2 Tim. 3:2

When God’s people wonder why there’s a hole in their pocket ,it’s most probably because God is not the center of their life. They are selfish and worldly things have priority over God’s kingdom.

You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house.” Hag 1:9

Posted May 7, 2015 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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The Christian and Money [Part 1]   Leave a comment

Christian's Money

Christian’s Money

But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” Mat. 6:3

Tithing

Through these words, our Lord hereby assumed that it was a normal duty for His disciples to give. In Matthew 6, it was not referring to tithing but about giving to those in need.

There’s a school of thought who believes that Christians should tithe and another who do not believe in tithing. I believe that tithing is an old testament concept given by God to provide for those ministering as priests.

In the New Testament, we are taught that voluntary offering was the way of giving:

Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” 2 Cor 9:6

The key is here: Decide in your own heart how much to give. It is a personal decision and not an act of response to the pressure of a law. Jesus did not teach about tithing nor did His disciples. We are called to give out of love, with joy and without pressure.

Giving one tenth is an old testament instruction where the people gave one tenth of what they had. It could be grains, fruits, herd or flocks (Leviticus 27:30) to God. To be more precise, it was not given to God for Him to eat(as if He needed something) but given to feed the dedicated people of the tribe of Levi who ministered for the nation.

God does need our money, He wants our heart.

Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Mat. 6:21

The Levites did not have any inheritance. God was their inheritance.

Remember that the Levitical priests—that is, the whole of the tribe of Levi—will receive no allotment of land among the other tribes in Israel. Instead, the priests and Levites will eat from the special gifts given to the Lord, for that is their share. They will have no land of their own among the Israelites. The Lord himself is their special possession, just as he promised them.” Deuteronomy 18

The Levites were therefore dependent on the offerings the people brought to survive. If they had to work the lands to produce their own crops, how could they be entirely consecrated to the Lord? Since the Levites did not have any possession, God gave a law to protect the Levites. The Levites’ family shall have no inheritance, and yet they shall live very comfortably and plentifully. Birds don’t sow but are fed by the Master, so it is with those in the Ministry. God will make provision. The law of tithing is about giving a tenth of one’s production. It was not necessarily about money.

The church of Philippi gave a lot of offerings which even exceeded what tithing required to support Paul in his ministry(Philippians 4:10-19). In the book of Acts, some even sold their lands.

There was also another tithe given by the Levites. It was called the tithe of the tithe.

Give these instructions to the Levites: When you receive from the people of Israel the tithes I have assigned as your allotment, give a tenth of the tithes you receive—a tithe of the tithe—to the Lord as a sacred offering. The Lord will consider this offering to be your harvest offering, as though it were the first grain from your own threshing floor or wine from your own winepress.” Numbers 18:26

The people of Israel gave one tenth of the best they had to the Levites. The Levites should also have something personal to offer to God. They were not exempted and these ministers also had to support others. So they now gave the best of the tithe they received to Aaron the high priest and his descendants. Aaron (and his descendants) therefore received the best of the best production of Israel. He was the high priest after all and the best given by the consecrated Levites was given to him. Freely they received from the labours of others, freely they gave. But should not the one higher in the hierarchy, Aaron, also have something to present? But how could he if there were no minister above him to do the offerings? The well respected father of the nation, Abraham, paid it in advance. Aaron like his brother Moses were of the tribe of Levi and therefore descendants of Abraham. Abraham gave a tithe of the best he had after his victory to someone greater than him, Melchizedek.

In addition, we might even say that these Levites—the ones who collect the tithe—paid a tithe to Melchizedek when their ancestor Abraham paid a tithe to him. For although Levi wasn’t born yet, the seed from which he came was in Abraham’s body when Melchizedek collected the tithe from him.” Hebrews 7:9

Despite the debate, those who believe in tithing and those who don’t both believe in tithing both agree that Christians should give.

Posted May 7, 2015 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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