MONEY CHANGES EVERYTHING
I Tim.6: 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
Greed is a powerful force. It will lead men into expending all kinds of energy in order to get more money. People will lie and steal to get money. They will study techniques and attend exhilarating conferences and they will get up early and stay up late in order to gain wealth. They will sacrifice their family. And millions will live in houses and drive cars and put on clothes above their means just to feel as though they have wealth. The power of earthly wealth is a great temptation and in America this temptation is pervasive and palpable. And when a culture is literally built upon the industriousness and ingenuity that leads to material prosperity then the undertow of that culture is almost overwhelming.
Almost everything in America is fueled by money. Sports and Hollywood and education and drugs and prostitution and radio and television and the music industry are all built upon and sustained by the pursuit of money. And let us not forget politics which is a money whore. All of these things and more are offshoots of greed and the love of money. We in America live in great activity where money changes hands very rapidly all around us. We all have watched the frenzied activity on the floor of the stock exchange. People are glued to interest rates, and the national debt is only rivaled by the growth of personal debt. The force of greed and avarice is now a part of western life.
But living within this culture of greed and hedonism are professing believers who say they love and follow Jesus. And these believers formed local groups where they can meet with like minded people and worship Christ. At least that is generally the stated purpose as well as reaching out to others and having some kind of missionary program. And judging by the teachings of Jesus and the entire New Testament we could expect these groups to be different than the average secular business because these groups are made up of believers whose lives are very different than those that do not follow Jesus. We should expect that, right?
Well we would be wrong. The average local church is set up as a non-profit business and operates like a small business. When it borrows money it applies to a secular bank just like a business, and if approved it pays interest just like a business. It has by-laws like a business. It even has business meetings. And this kind of construct and mindset reflects its members whose lives are run like little businesses. One of the most important barometers in this culture is your credit rating since people borrow money or buy things on credit with regularity. And even if you have poor credit you can always get a co-signer. This is a symptom of the culture and it has found its way into the lives of professing believers and into the church at large.
Money changes everything.
Jam.2: My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;
3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:
4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
Have you ever meditated upon these verses? This teaching by the Spirit is very profound and indicates just how our Lord feels about the spiritually debilitating influence of wealth. The allure of money and wealth is so great that men can actually read these verses, and others, and yet teach that God Himself is interested in seeing you gain great wealth. And millions of people who follow these false teachers see nothing of the sort even though they have given and given over the years to these prosperity ministries and yet they still give. Why do they continue to give? Because they are caught in the power of greed.
Just what does it mean when the Spirit says that God has chosen the poor of this world rich in faith? I would ask you to read this amazing article.
You see what this atheist is saying? Being an atheist is a luxury most poor people do not have. The religious overtures by those homeless people does not necessarily indicate they know Christ, however it dies indicate they know there is a God. Money hardens hearts and changes the way people act and think. A poor person is happy to have one bite of a steak while a rich person will send his steak back if it is not done to his specifications. A poor person will live with a squeak under his car while a rich person will not tolerate the slightest anomaly in his car’s performance. A poor person is not overly concerned with his apparel while a rich person must present himself within a certain context.
You see, money changes everything. Donald Trump (as an example) is an openly arrogant and self promoting man and yet he is very popular among millions of people including professing believers. And the overriding reason is because he is very wealthy. A poor person who is arrogant and self promoting and petty would be given no audience, but because Trump is a billionaire he is listened to as if he were a wise man. But he is just an example of how money changes things in a culture which loves and pursues money. It is predictable and observable.
The allure of money is powerful and it finds its way into almost every area of our hearts and minds. It is open and yet subtle. It manipulates the entire culture. The evil one has defined greed in narrow terms. We think of King Midas or some miser when we think of greed. We never associate greed with the common lifestyle of a capitalist culture. We use the term “investment” when defining the stock market or borrowing hundreds of thousands of dollars for a house, but we never say greed.
A man will have a good job and he is happy in his church and his family has many friends and ties in the community. He is, as they say, blessed. But then this same contented man gets an offer for a job which pays him a lot more money. But this job is a thousand miles away. The greater salary is too much for him to resist so he packs up his family and moves to a place where he has no guarantee that he will find the same contentment. He usually buys a larger house with a larger mortgage, and a new chapter begins. And the transition was fueled by the prospect of making more money.
The love of money is not just restricted to the rich. There are many poor people who seek money. But the entire American culture is built on the seeking of wealth and prosperity. And the church overwhelmingly has bought into that same culture. Even the word “blessings” has come to have a financial meaning. And when a church grows in membership it is always seen as God’s blessings. When a church gets approved for a secular loan to build it is God’s blessings. It is impossible to identify and articulate all the ways that this culture has influenced and now controls the church.
As I have said many times if we truly read and believed the New Testament without cultural perspectives we would see clearly that New Testament Christianity is not practiced in America except for a few individuals and a very few congregations. That is not hyperbole. We all must answer to God one day. But let it be known that the church in America has embraced the Babylonian system even while pretending to follow Jesus. This is a great sin. Money changes everything, and it has changed the western church substantially. To seek poverty is unbiblical and probably self righteous on some level. But to seek prosperity is an open sin and it will change everything in a person’s life.