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The Deceitfulness of Riches

(Proverbs 11:24-28; 23:1-8; 30:7-9)

Lesson 8 -- fourth quarter 2009
October 25, 2009

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2009

Introductory questions to chew

How have I been unrighteous in my financial and economic dealings with others?

God's wisdom would give me what perspective on labor and its objectives?

When I set my eyes upon that which is, on what do I set them?

Would I be satisfied with neither poverty nor riches?

What's my stuff for?

"But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully" (2 Corinthians 9:6).

What do you make of that verse? It looks like a sure-fire investment principle, doesn't it? Sowing bountifully appears to be a better deal than investing in the stock market, in mutual funds, or in stock and grain futures. The implication of this verse seems to be that if I give in great abundance, my returns will be even greater. So, if I would be materially wealthy, I have but to disburse my money freely and liberally to others. Right? Wrong!

The mentality that Biblical principles are meant to be used to become wealthy on earth has to be reprehensible to God. Such a concept defies the following statements:

"There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt" (Ecclesiastes 5:13).

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal" (Matthew 6:19,20).

"Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you" (James 5:1).

"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. 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" (1 Timothy 6:9,10).

"No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Luke 16:13).

No, the bountiful reaping referred to in 2 Corinthians 9:6 is not material stuff to be kept for increasing my wealth. Why should I want to do such a thing since the preceding verses are true? I see in this verse the promise that if I give my material things bountifully, I shall reap spiritual and eternal rewards bountifully. And if God chooses to also give me bountiful material returns, they are to be promptly reinvested in people and in the work of the Kingdom.

If my eternal rewards were to be determined solely by my generous liberality with my material goods, how bountiful would my harvest be?

I want to be a wise, godly steward of my possessions here on earth. I want my giving to be entirely unaffected by self and its considerations. When I give to someone, I do not want to be motivated by the desire to bless Mark Roth. I want to give because I love that person and because I want to use the Lord's money as He would. I want to give cheerfully and eagerly, not under obligation or mere sense of duty.

Shall I then not give if I cannot do so with godly motivation? My giving should always be a step of obedience. If I ask God for a cleansed heart, He will wash me clean of myself...if I first act in utter obedience to what He has already shown me to be His will. So I shall give and give, trusting God to purify my motives.

This concludes my comments based on the alternate lesson developed by Christian Light Publications. To read my comments on the passage for the International Bible Study, click here: The Gain in Giving.

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