Sunday, July 10, 2011

TWO CAUTIONS AND FOUR COMMANDS

 PART 3 -  2 CAUTIONS 4 COMMNANDS By Colin D'Cruz

  
TWO  CAUTIONS AND FOUR COMMANDS
 Are you rich? Who is rich?  Let’s look at this scenario. A man is busy peddling away on his cycle when a man on a scooter passes by and he thinks to himself “this guy is rich!” The man on the scooter   sees a guy on a Bullet motorbike shoot past him and he thinks to himself “this guy is rich!” A Honda City car zips past the biker and the biker thinks to himself “this guy sure is rich!”  The Honda city is overtaken by a cool BMW and the owner of the Honda City envies the BMW guy thinking to him “this guy is rich!” The Guy in the BMW get off at the airport and checks into the  First class lounge that overlooks the tarmac and he sees a man entering his private Jet and he shakes his head thinking to himself “this guy is rich!!”

So who is rich? Rich is a relative word depending on your point of reference. The most accurate point of reference is the Word of God, the Bible. How does the Bible define riches?

1Timothy 6:6-76 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
Since we all have food, clothing and shelter the Bible calls us rich! So this text and message is for each one of us.
In our country if you earn less than Rs 100/- a day you are considered to be Below Poverty Line. Anything over that can qualify as rich!!

Our text for today has 2 Cautions and 4 commands.
1Tim 6:17-19: 17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

Timothy gives us 2 CAUTIONS:

1.    V17. Do not be arrogant – The rich are in danger of arrogance. This manifest itself in the way we think, behave and speak. We often think we are better than others because of our prosperity, possessions, and position. Sometimes it is evident in our speech- do we speak down to people? How do we treat people who serve us viz. the liftman, watchmen, and the maids? We need to examine ourselves.

God wants us to be humble like him. Phil 2:3- Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
When we do this we break the strongholds in our culture of cast and class.
Everything we have comes from the Lord i.e. our wealth, our money, abilities and even our intellect.

1Cor 4;7 For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?
Deut 8:18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today
One thought to keep our hearts in check is to remember what we were i.e Eph 2:1-5 – we were objects of God’s wrath but God has mercy on us.

2.Do not put your hope in wealth –DO not put your trust in money but on the one who provides it. Multibillion dollar companies have folded up overnight. Where is your hope? Is it in your bank balance to bail you out in times of trouble? Or is it in the everlasting Lord?
Prov 11:28- the righteous thrive like a green leaf.

As Christians we often battle with our conscience with what should our attitude be and how should we handle wealth. One the extreme we have the poverty theology and on the other extreme we have the prosperity theology. The prosperity guys say name and claim it. The poverty guys say poverty is next to godliness. Which one do you prefer? J
In the Bible we have King Solomon who was the richest man and in contrast you have the widow with 2 mites, Jesus himself who had no place to rest his head, the Apostles who said :silver and gold have I none...”
V17b -So what is the balance? God provides richly for our enjoyment.

 The question is : are your spending habits putting you in debt? Do you have credit card debts?
Some questions to ask yourself?
  • ·        Have I been faithful to the Lord in my giving?
  • ·        Am I looking after my family and the poor in my extended family?
  • ·        Am I being generous to the poor?
  • We can spend and splurge on ourselves but can we spare a thought for the poor amongst us? in our churches, our community? God wants us to help the poor and the destitute starting with our family, church and community.

Are my spending habits God glorifying and helping advance the kingdom?

FOUR COMMANDS
1.    V18.  Do what is good Do use your wealth for good things i.e. to be rich in good deeds. Look at how you spent money in the last week. Was there an abundance of good deeds? As your income increases don’t just stretch your consumption but your giving as well.

2.    Be willing to share what you have. God has given everything for our enjoyment and when we leave this world we will leave everything behind.

3. V.19 be generous to the poor and the Kingdom of God. When we do this we lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven and a firm foundation. The Bible says whatever we have given in secret the Father in heaven will reward us openly.

4. V17b Put your hope in God – Ps 50:9-11 I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, 10 for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine.

 Let us turn our eye to the Lord who have blessed us with everything good gift and ask the Holy Spirit to examine our hearts, our attitude toward money and possessions  that we might align our purses to His purposes bringing Him glory in all that we do. Have a great week!

Colin D Cruz