Monday, June 30, 2014

Wealth and Money - AM

OT - Wealth and Money mostly viewed positively - ie:  as a Blessing from God - examples:  Job, Abraham, Solomon  Prov. 10:22

NT - expresses more warnings, stresses the dangers of wealth and money.  ie:  parable of the Rich Fool, the Rich Young Ruler - Luke 16:13-15 - have tendency to put trust in riches when are very wealthy.
There are thousands of verses about W & $ in the Bible.

So:  views of wealth and money have been varied among Christians.
View #1. - Money is Bad!  (evil and/or leads to evil)
Early Christians = A) mostly poor
                            B) often oppressed and exploited by the rich and powerful
Therefore,            C) stressed TRUE RICHES .... in Christ.

On one hand, Scripture does not condemn wealth, However, wealth and money are considered seductive and dangerous.  1 Tim. 6:9-10

One result of this view = medieval monasticism -  people gave away everything to follow Christ.  Example:  Francis of Assisi (1200 - )   Believed that Poverty - a duty and a virtue!!  Thousands began to follow him which resulted in the Franciscan Order which is still huge today.  Wealth considered a vice.

View #2.  Money Is Good.  (God wants you to have LOTS!!)
example:  health and wealth gospel.   Matt. 7:7-11   Mark 10:28-30   Rom. 8:15-17
Some of largest churches around world today follow and promote this.

View #3.  Between =  a)  Money is neither good nor bad.
                                  b)  can be a great blessing or great curse
                                  c)  makes wonderful servant, but terrible master.
Protestant/Reformed view - Calvin, Luther, Puritans.

The oddity:  the practitioners know as "non-worldly", BUT tended to accumulate wealth!!!
(example: Quakers/Amish/Mennonites, etc)
So, a look at  a few of their interpretations/ ideas.  
Particularly their Practices - (practical application)

#1.  Hard Work - considered part of their "vocation" or "calling from God" - Gen. 2:15 (hasn't changed)
We ought to:  work hard, work well - Col. 3:23-24 - do it well as unto the Lord.
They believed 2 Thess. 3:6-10 - a) given to Christians  and b)  applied to Rich also!!

#2.  Simple lifestyle - relative term but, live well but don't live high.

To them this didn't mean "live within your means", rather meant "live beneath your means", which lead to

#3.  Good Stewardship (management) - from Greek word meaning house law
- household manager, management - Example:  Joseph for Potiphar

       Which included:
       A)  Paying attention to business - Prov. 27:23-24
        B) Living off the gain (providing for the family) - 1 Tim. 5:8
        C) Using gain for good - giving/sharing/assisting
                 a)  helping poor, needy, unfortunate - Prov. 19:17
                 b)  building community - love neighbor as self
                c)  building Kingdom - education/missions - they believed tithe was bare minimum - that were robbing God if only giving 10%

       D.  Saving for hard times - Prov. 21:20

       E.  Investing the profit - idea was not "make profit, now can consume it", but "made profit so now can employ it"!!
They felt responsible to put profit to work!!! = Capitalism! - they didn't do this because wanted to make money, but as good stewards of what God had blessed them with.

      F.  Leaving a financial legacy - giving children, grandchildren, etc. = "leg up"

     G.  Being honest & fair in all financial dealings. - believed no profit in being dishonest and God would not bless that!

#4.  Practiced Contentment
1 Tim. 6:6-8   Phil. 4:10-13   

Their Point was NOT about wealth, but about pursuing God/Godliness/living out faith/building the Kingdom

The summary = Matt. 6:31-33

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