Prosperity is a blessing. God wants to bless us with material wealth. But we must not be mesmerised by money to the extent it becomes our idol.
A Facebook friend shared that Christians should have a more positive view of wealth since we certainly need financial resources to do God’s work, whether it is to feed the poor or build orphanages and homes for the underprivileged.
He was saying that, without money, we can’t do much for others. So why demonise money? Be more positive about money.
Yes, I hear him loud and clear: “What’s so bad about having a lot of money to bless others?”
After all, isn’t it God’s will for believers to be well and prosper in every area of their lives? “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 2).
Here is my reply to him. Yes, I agree that God’s work often requires money. What is the biblical view concerning abundance and riches? We need to gingerly tread a middle path between a scarcity mindset (poverty is good) and a “prosperity gospel” mentality. God wants to bless us in so many ways, including material abundance. But we must not be mesmerised by money to the extent it becomes our idol.
While we believe in a loving and generous God, we must not fall for the bait of the “prosperity gospel”. Its proponents will cherry-pick verses to support their stance on prosperity whilst downplaying the centrality of the cross and its demands (self-denial). Using religion as a means of gain, purveyors of the “prosperity gospel” manipulate the truth for personal ends.
God is not niggardly. He wants to bless His children abundantly—with material blessing as well (Psalms 103:1-5).
But wealth is like a two-edged sword. Many get enamoured with the gifts rather than the Giver. How many people can handle great wealth without being corrupted by it?
One of the few notable exceptions is Joseph. As the Prime Minister of Egypt, he had great wealth and power at his disposal. But he did not succumb to greed, pride or sexual immorality. But how many modern-day Josephs are there?
Like fire, money is a good servant but a bad master. We can be captivated by money to the extent it becomes an idol and, consequently, lose our eternal focus.
There is no harm in possessing great riches. The danger is when we allow riches to draw us away from God and chain us to earth.
The following are warnings against turning wealth into an idol:
“If I have made gold my trust
or called fine gold my confidence,
if I have rejoiced because my wealth was abundant
or because my hand had found much,
if I have looked at the sun when it shone,
or the moon moving in splendor,
and my heart has been secretly enticed,
and my mouth has kissed my hand,
this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges,
for I would have been false to God above.
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do .good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share
Put no trust in extortion;
set no vain hopes on robbery;
if riches increase, set not your heart on them.
Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
lest I be full and deny you
and say, “Who is the Lord?”
or lest I be poor and steal
and profane the name of my God.
(Proverbs 30: 8-9)
And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
(1 John 2:15-17)
HOW TO SHARE MODERN-DAY IDOL WORSHIP
(You may use the following introduction and link)
What does the Bible say about abundance and riches? We need to tread a middle path between a scarcity mindset (poverty is good) and a ‘prosperity gospel’ mentality. Prosperity is a blessing from God. He wants to bless us with material wealth. But we must not be mesmerised by money to the extent it becomes our idol.
How do we differentiate between the true and the false gospel?
Note: Dr Lim Poh Ann is a medical practitioner. He was the former editor of Asian Beacon magazine (Dec 2008 – Oct 2011). He can be reached at his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/AskDrLi
SOURCE OF ARTICLE: http://limpohann.blogspot.my/2015/09/money-servant-or-idol.html
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