What it means to be rich and what to do about it

There are two classes of people in this world: the rich and those who want to be rich. So said someone, and the division is not far from the mark. We might add a third: those who pretend not to care about riches.

The apostle Paul addressed both groups toward the end of his first letter to Timothy. He has words for those who want to get rich in 1 Timothy 6.9-10. Later, he gives instructions for those who are rich, 1 Timothy 6.17-19.

His words to be passed on to the rich hold three contrasts that are important to note: Continue reading “What it means to be rich and what to do about it”

The meaning of life

It would seem Song of Solomon was written when Solomon was a young man, Proverbs in his middle age, and many would see Ecclesiastes being written in his later life. That it was written by Solomon is seen in the opening verse: “The words of the Teacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem” (Ecclesiastes 1:1 NET). Although some question Solomon’s authorship, if we accept this as being from the Holy Spirit, then it must be a son of David who was king, and the internal evidence fits Solomon well.

Like many who reach an older age, Solomon seemed to be disillusioned with life. Notice what he says: “‘Futile! Futile!’ laments the Teacher. ‘Absolutely futile! Everything is futile!’” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). He had lived a long life and what was there to show for it? Everything continued as it always had: generations come and go, the sun rises and sets, streams flow into the sea but never fill it, there is nothing new that ever happens. Even what is done will be forgotten in future generations. Continue reading “The meaning of life”

Trust in God or what we have?

“Now a certain leader asked him, ‘Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: “Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.”’ The man replied, ‘I have wholeheartedly obeyed all these laws since my youth.’” (Luke 18:18-21 NET)

Most people that I know want the best out of life and to have the best life possible. The man Jesus was talking with wanted this. From what we can see he was living a good life. He was a Jew, one of God’s chosen people, and he was faithfully, wholeheartedly, following God’s commands. But he was missing something. “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” he asked Jesus. Continue reading “Trust in God or what we have?”

Where is our security?

“Then someone from the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator between you two?’ Then he said to them, ‘Watch out and guard yourself from all types of greed, because one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions’” (Luke 12:13-15 NET).

Two men came to Jesus with what one of them considered to be a problem: he didn’t think he was getting a fair share of the inheritance. We don’t know the circumstances of his complaint, but it could have been as simple as the way inheritance laws were set up in God’s Law. The firstborn son would receive a double portion of the inheritance (see Deuteronomy 21:15-17). If that is the case here, the younger son might be complaining that the inheritance was not split equally and was hoping Jesus would change the inheritance law so he could have more.

Jesus could see what the real problem was: greed. So he told them a story. Continue reading “Where is our security?”

Is it wrong to prosper?

“Woe to you who are at ease in Zion, and trust in Mount Samaria. Notable persons in the chief nation, to whom the house of Israel comes! Go over to Calneh and see; and from there go to Hamath the great; then go down to Gath of the Philistines. Are you better than these kingdoms? Or is their territory greater than your territory?” (Amos 6:1-2 NKJV).

When I make reports on my work in undeveloped nations a very common response is “That sure makes us appreciate what we have doesn’t it?” Others will say, “We sure are blessed.” Behind such comments is an inference of guilt. Are we wrong to have so much when so many have so little? I believe a lot of sincere American Christians ask that question, and fear the answer. Continue reading “Is it wrong to prosper?”

Choking Hazard

During my sophomore college summer I returned home to Australia to work as a truck driver offsider. A church member, who owned a truck, hired me to assist him with his furniture delivery business.

Many details of that summer have slipped from memory, but not the choking lady. We were on the second floor of an apartment building where we had just delivered a large wall unit.  She came down the stairs holding her throat, choking and with a look of panic in her eyes. Continue reading “Choking Hazard”

Politicizing Jesus

The popular meme by John Fugalsang creates a Jesus made in his own image saying Jesus was “anti-wealth.” In another version, Fugalsang says Jesus was “anti-capitalism”. Fugalsang’s meme goes on to say Jesus “never called the poor lazy.”

Jesus never mentioned being for or against any form of economics. Jesus had no wealth while on earth, but there is no biblical text that says Jesus was “anti-wealth.”

Fugalsang interprets Christ’s silence on any issue in favor of his own views. If Fugalsang is for it, then Jesus’ silence is for it. If Fugalsang is against it, then Jesus’ silence is against it. Continue reading “Politicizing Jesus”