Friday, August 2, 2013

The Wealth Lie

Jesus said to him, “One thing you lack, go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”    Mark 10:21 NASB

Why do preachers in the modern church tell the rich, young rulers of our day something other than what Jesus told them in the days he walked on earth? For that matter, why do preachers in the modern church tell the poor to aspire to be rich, young rulers? The rich of our day are told that their wealth, and the self-indulgence and self-concern it breeds, is a blessing from God. They are told that God would like all his children to be thus, even that there are fool-proof ways of getting there (like tithing)--really, to be anything less than rich evidences a break-down in faith.

They are told lies!

From a biblically informed point of view, the only good thing to do with wealth is to give it away. Not to accumulate it; not to "seed" the ministry of a televangelist or mega-church pastor, but to give it away to the benefit and blessing of others. The televangelist and the big church guru (generally) seek only to build their own Taj Mahals or to pad their own notoriety and and influence. Either, more often than not, solicits the givings of the giver with the promise of multiplied returns from God (primarily, just so they can enrich themselves).

Jesus never asked for that kind of response to the Gospel, and won't open the windows of heaven for some self-seeking manipulator just because he or she "gives" along those lines. Give, oh yes, but to one who is in real need, without seeking blowback. Give actually trying to help someone else. To anyone to whom you do give, be like God and be generous. Don't let your left hand know what your right is doing. Give of your wealth and follow Jesus in service.

To the one who can't see, bring a healing salve that can give sight. To the one that has sight, teach him to read so he can read God's word, and then, give him God's word. To the one that can't hear, bring a means of hearing. To the one who can hear, speak God's word to him so he may truly hear. To the one who is thirsty or hungry give sustenance so he may live another day and come to know God's care.

It is absolutely true that there is no greater gift to give than the Gospel, and that giving toward the support of Gospel ministry is as important to give to as anything. But let's be clear and honest, the Gospel was not given by God as a source of wealth acquisition for its supposed promulgators, NOR FOR THOSE WHO EMBRACE ITS TEACHING. The church is talking a lot about wealth these day, but it's mostly telling lies!

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