Yes, I admit I had it all wrong. What am I talking about you ask? My thoughts on money, possessions and acquiring "stuff" that will fade away like a vapor. I am in sales so naturally you have to be money motivated to go out and succeed. My goal was to put my nose to the grindstone, work harder and make more money. Don't get me wrong working hard to make more money is not bad in and of itself. I will follow up on this point later. When it comes to this topic I have a tendency to run right past the Bible and right to Money Magazine or Kiplingers . God has been dealing with me on this topic.
We started doing "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan in our Sunday school class. I also read
"Radical " by David Platt and watched his sermon series on money and possessions. It opened my eyes more than you can imagine. I have also been thumbing through Randy Alcorn's "Money, Possessions, and Eternity". Alll of these books challenge believers to look at money in light of eternity.
Let me throw a few statistics at you. I didn't research these by myself but they are pretty telling. Check out this link if you want to see David Platt talk about this subject.
Did you know the Bible has about 2,350 verses that talk about money (riches). That is twice as many as faith and prayer...combined. Did you know that there are 6.8 billion people in the world today and that 75% (5billion) of them live on less that $3,255 a year. 37% of those live on less than $825 or less a year. Yes, I said $825 a year. I was shocked to learn that if you make $50,000 a year that you were in the top 1% of the world as far as income. The average household income in America is $42,000. That means that we are on average in the top 2.5% of the richest people in the world. We are rich. When God talks about the rich in the Bible I have to believe he is talking to me.
So far I have painted the picture of money coming in to families around the world. Let's look at money going back out to poverty stricken areeas of the world. Again I was amazed to hear this as well. Christians in North America give on average 2.5% of their income to the church. The church gives 2% of these funds to oversees missions. That comes out to about 5 cents out of every $100 given to the church that goes to missions oversees. We as Americans spend more of dog food, weight-loss programs, video games, chewing gum, cut flowers, about 26 times more on soft drinks than we do on oversees ministries.
Like I said earlier money is not bad at all in and of itself. Money is neutral. It is neither good nor bad. You can use money to spread the gospel to poverty stricken nations or you can use money to buy a prostitute or drugs. In both of these situations it is not the money that is good or bad. It is the person behind the money. God intended for us to have good things and in the Old Testament he used money to build his people. God uses both wealth and famine as well as prosperity and pain to accomplish his purpose. And that is where I have to take a hard look in the mirror and recognize that the money I make and that we all make if we are His children is for His purpose.
I would hope that if God asked me to give up all my possession and follow Him that I wouldn't be like the rich young ruler in Luke. I don't think any of us like to think about being in that situation. I don't know about you but when I read that I think to myself "I wouldn't do that what he did". But really, really ask yourself what you would do. God does not call us all to do what He called the rich ruler to do. But I believe He calls us to lay down that one thing that we put ahead of Him in order to fully follow Him. In this guys case it was his possessions. It really could be a number of things in each of our lives so ask God to show you what you need to lay down and He will let you know.
I have more questions than answers on this subject and by no means want to be "preachy". I just believe that we are called to give more than we do, serve more than we do and spread his word more than we do. That is what it really comes down to. Using what He has blessed us with to further His kingdom and live out the Great Commission. I don't have this figured out by a long shot. I need help figuring this out. I know when judgement comes I will have no excuse to not know his commands about money(or anything for that matter) because He has laid them out in his Word.