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Plain Lessons: On Getting Rich

Plain Lessons: On Getting Rich

Words of Faith 4-24-18

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018


Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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     The teaching of Jesus in the "Sermon on the Plain" in Luke 6, deals with four specific worldly values. The world says that the highest goals in life are to be rich, feed our appetites, be happy, and be well thought of. For the world, this is what life is about. These four areas are arenas of conflict in our lives between the world and the Kingdom of God. We will look at these four in the next few devotions.


Luke 6

   [20] Looking at his disciples, he said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. [24] "But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.


       The World says GET RICH. But Jesus says: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God (20b).   Jesus goes further and says [24] "But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort" (24).

     What is the answer? Is there really a blessing in poverty? In the musical Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye tells God in a conversation, "You made many, many poor people. I realize, of course, that it's no shame to be poor, but it's no great honor either. So what would have been so terrible, if I had a small fortune?"

       In and of itself there is nothing noble about poverty. You can be a poor thief or a rich one. One can be very generous whether relatively rich or poor. The Bible does not teach that wealth in itself is evil. Jesus had a number of wealthy friends who were helpful to Him including Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea and several well to do women mentioned in chapter eight.

     So what is Jesus talking about? What is the warning about? The first century Jewish culture of Jesus had taught that wealth was a sign of God's blessing and endorsement. Jesus says, not necessarily. Jesus says that wealth can be a great peril. If your chief aim in life is to attain wealth, you will receive only the barest comfort and only in this life. If you attain worldly wealth, and you have no sense of stewardship, no sense that wealth is a trust from God to be used for His purposes, then the only comfort you will ever have will be from that wealth. That is very cold and skimpy. Ask Mr. Scrooge.

     In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus said: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  

     The greatest blessing of being poor is that we would respond in absolute dependence upon God and that is how we inherit the Kingdom of God. Is there blessing in being poor if you spend your life envying the rich? Not at all. The blessing is in drawing near to God and living in close dependence upon Him. Somehow we may be able to connect with God a little easier if we are not self-reliant but God-reliant.

       There is a spiritual sounding wealth trap. We can feel rather noble saying, "Lord, I am going to become very, very rich-- and then I will give you some!" The Lord does not want or need your wealth, He wants YOU. Your stewardship is just a barometer of your heart. Where your treasure is, there your heart is also.

       The blessing of being poor is that we realize we have nothing to give but ourselves! There is no where else to turn. When we make riches our god, and accumulation is our singular goal, we will miss the Kingdom.

      So do we make ourselves poor? No, but we do seek to manage the blessings of God carefully. Certainly we seek to discover that we are poor in spirit. We acknowledge the utter need for Jesus and dependence upon Him alone. And we seek to have Jesus' heart for the poor.

       Where are you today? Have you allowed things that are material to get in the way of the things that are eternal?


       Father, I give thanks for all the many blessings I have enjoyed. Give me the right perspective. Show me the wisdom I need to steward Your possessions that have been entrusted to me. Give me the blessing of knowing You and walking closely with You in utter dependence no matter what is in my pocketbook. Teach me how to grip loosely the things of this world and to grip tightly the things that are eternal. In Jesus' name.