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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Observations on How to be Rich

Yesterday I shared the method and the verses I looked at to answer the question I asked, “How does one become rich in God?”  I asked you to look at the passages first and come up with your ideas; here are mine, verse by verse:
Observations on How to be Rich
Luke 12:21 – this passage started the question for me.  From the contrast in the passage it seems more to tell me what rich is not.  According to the passage it is not storing up goods or finances for oneself.  That is the way the world defines rich.  That, based on this verse, is not rich toward God.  That aligns perfectly with what John wrote in 1 John 2:15 – 17.  The measure of wealth the world uses is temporary.  We are looking then for an eternal measure of richness or wealth.

Romans 10:12 – the source of riches for us is in calling on the Lord.  Note however that we have already determined from Luke 12:21 that those riches are not monetary or possessions.  So, whatever one comes up with as being rich toward the Lord it seems to start with calling on Him for those riches.

2 Corinthians 8:9 – this one could be a bit confusing.  The context is dealing with the completion of a pledge the Corinthian church made for the support of other churches.  That aside the import of this passage seems to align closely with the previous passage.  We are rich through Christ’s poverty.  We read in Philippians 2:5 – 11 that Christ voluntarily emptied himself in order to save us.  Our wealth, riches toward God then is sourced in Christ’s ministry and sacrifice.

1 Timothy 6:18 – this one is more specific.  Rich in good works.  Paul exhorts those who are rich in this world, like the rich man in Luke 12:21, to be rich in good works.  It is interesting that in doing so Paul says that this will create for them a good foundation for the future with the result that they can take hold of life indeed.  That opens up a further, really rich vein of inquiry (rabbit trail, but closely related) about what is life.

Revelation 3:18 – this is set in contrast to Revelation 3:17 and supports Jesus’ position that worldly riches are not what is important.  In contrast to worldly wealth what is important is purity, righteousness… admittedly I skipped sharing some of the steps in getting to that conclusion to validate it look at the context and Hebrews 12:4 – 11.

So the bottom line seems to be that richness toward God comes from our pursuing Him, actually begging Him for those riches, that are evidenced in our lives by serving others as Christ did, pursuing a life of purity and the righteousness of Christ under the discipline of God to that end.

Practically, based on my current study of Psalm 119, that seems to include intentional, prayerful absorption of the Word with the result that I work the impact of the Word out through my actions including sharing what I am learning with those whom the Lord brings into my sphere of influence.

There is a lot here.  I have made some statements that while I can support I have not completely shared the support primarily because of the need for brevity.  If there are questions please do not hesitate to ask and I will respond.  It will be several days before I can, but I will respond…

1 comment:

  1. Good thoughts, Mike, on a topic which I need to investigate some uncomfortable matters God is stirring in my heart. Our pastor led us through James 5:1-5 the AM. As I read and meditated on the passage before his exposition I realized it was liable to be an uncomfortable time, and I wasn't disappointed.

    He couched it in terms of the Kingdom of self (characterized by self-centeredness and oppression and I thought of the idols that God mocks through Isaiah that need to be "carried" rather than Israel's God who bears them) vs. the Kingdom of God. It's a matter of my heart, thoughts feelings, not the particular issues James raises from his day in the lives of his audience.

    The real issue is, "Where do I find my value?" "What feeds and pleases me? Is it from having, or being superior, or security in the future, or.... I have my list and it's not pretty.

    To make this shorter, what is the solution? It's not by Bible study, Scripture memory, prayer, self discipline - or any combination in and of themselves although all are vital to my spiritual life and development.

    James already nailed it in Ch. 4:6: "...He gives more grace." When I come to Christ in the context of His shed blood I receive the forgiveness and grace I need to face my worst sins and take whatever steps I need in His strength.

    He used the illustration of Eustace in Lewis' The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" who because of "greedy, dragonish thoughts" became a dragon himself. The only deliverance was the slashing claws of the great lion Aslan tearing through the layers of the scales and liberating him.

    I experience the reality that grief can be a powerful set of claws God uses to tear into my self-life and idolatrous heart. Eustace found that a painful process, and so do I; I often desperately wish it could end. Sadly there is always another layer down there; it never seems to end.

    But I know that one day, that will change! Because I am God's child by grace and the blood of Christ (only) I "shall be like Him, because (I) shall see Him as He is!"

    My great joy these days is that my beloved wife is now experiencing this very reality! I long to join her...Maranatha!

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