If you have been using these Daily Notes you will be aware that I have worked through the Lord’s Prayer and Fasting (Matthew 6:5-18) recently, so if you would like to, you can search these topics on donkirkwood.com for that teaching. We will now pick up the text from Matthew 6:19. This afternoon we had a memorial service for a man who died on Thursday after struggling with cancer since January. His illness was rather sudden; his decline was speedy and his death was recent. I saw him for the last time on Tuesday at the Sun Gardens Hospice. The first time I met after something like 30 years was around 8 or so weeks back. Although he was a short gentleman with a slender figure … on his death bed he was literally skin and bone. I believe he is with the Lord today, but he did not take anything with him! He could not take his motorcar, house, furniture, money, garden tools, clothing or anything else with him. Job reminds us of what happens at the beginning of life and the end of life upon this earth! We read about his wealth and status:
Job 1:1 In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. 2 He had seven sons and three daughters, 3 and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.
A few translations refer to Job as the wealthiest man on the earth … and we are able to understand this because of all the assets he owned … animals and land. Then, through circumstances out of his control he loses everything through nature, hijackings and raiding parties. On top of all his loses He loses all his children. When he heard this dreadful news he:
Job 1:20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said: Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”
Did you notice something extremely important that we need to learn? He says that he arrived on this planet empty handed and that he will leave this planet empty handed. That was the picture the deceased showed me. His death was lonely, empty handed and final. This will be true of you and me as well. Did you notice that Job credits God with what He had and what he lost? God gives and God takes away. According to God’s permissive will, what He permits to give you on loan, He may take away from you. When He does it does not mean you have done wrong. Job did not sin to incur such wrath … but God took away to prove Job loved Him and would continue to love Him. Let me tell you why Job could respond as He did … The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised. He could praise God when he had much and when he had nothing. The reason was He knew what He had was God’s on loan to be used for God’s glory. It was not his! Therefore his view of wealth was controlled with His view of God and heaven! That beloved is the controlling force dictating his heart’s response to gains and losses. Our passage today is:
Mt 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
This passage will take more than a day to work.
1) Wealth is not a sin. But … we need to understand who the actual owner of all the wealth in the world is. Yes, humans have the money, assets, gold, silver, land, etc. in their hands, in their name … but who is the owner of it all? For every question in life we need to go to the Scriptures and seek answers there. And this is what we do now … and find
Ps 24:1 The earth is the LORD’S, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.
God is the Creator and because of creation He is owner of all. Just because man has brains and schemes the way of stock markets, engineering, development, investment, marketing and sales … does not mean he did this alone. Whether man (men and women across the world) realizes it, God gives the intelligence, abilities, natural gifts, energy, determination and passion to create wealth through business enterprises. Man uses materials from the earth such as wood, coal, iron, gold, diamonds and silver. He uses seed he did not create to plant to reap food. He extracts crude oil and gas from the earth. He catches various sea creatures for food. Beef, mutton, pork and chicken meats comes from animals God provided. God provides and should He bless you with the resources to acquire wealth, it is not a sin.
2) The greater issue is one’s attitude towards wealth. This might be sinful. God create the world to function through a structured economy. Although as Jesus walked on the earth there were wealthy people as well as poor people. He actually said the poor will always be with us. Whether one is wealthy or poor or anywhere in between, attitude towards wealth is the big issue, one that could cause Ubuntu, sharing through caring, true communism or greed, idolatry and sinful aggression.
1 Tim 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Love of money! The lust for more results in evil passions and is realized in sin and loss of salvation. It has nothing to do with having much (wealthy) or little (poor). It’s all about attitude to money! Father please give me a right understanding of who owns the wealth in this world so that I may use what You give me for Your glory and not for selfish, greedy, lustful purposes.
You, O, Lord are my inheritance. Amen.