Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 20, 2018
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. Hebrews 11:13
The promises of God are not all fulfilled on earth but have their grand expression in the eternal. He promises to take care of His children, but He does not promise to prosper them financially. The godliest, Christ-loving Christian may be the poorest of the poor or one who has been blessed materially. But the gospel of Jesus Christ is about giving, not getting. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Unfeigned faith looks out for the interests of others.
Preachers do parishioners a disservice when they equate faithfulness with financial gain. They especially do harm when they justify their opulent lifestyle with their obedience to God. How can we teach this when our Lord Jesus had nowhere to lay His head? The Holy Spirit grieves when the church becomes an ecclesiastical pyramid scheme instead of His house of prayer. Paul expressed clearly the proper motive of a pastor:
“Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God” (2 Corinthians 2:17).
Furthermore, affluence can be an impediment to our intimacy with the Almighty. Stuff can get in the way of serving people. A cluttered life can compete with a simple life of service. Are we mentoring young men and women, or are we too busy making a living or traveling for fun? The gospel is meant to prosper people’s lives, not their pocketbooks.
So what is the application of the gospel? The Lord calls us to get up from our lap of luxury and get down our knees in humble prayer. He expects us to willingly and joyfully give away our excess abundance. He asks us to rightly divide His truth—the promise of the riches of His grace and not the riches of wealth—to people. Jesus Christ’s gospel is prosperous to set free all who believe from earthly expectations, replacing them with heavenly hope.
“Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised” (Hebrews 11:36–39).
Dear Lord, I pray my trust will be in You and our relationship and not in riches, in Jesus name, amen.
Am I allowing the gospel to prosper my soul in service and generosity to others?
Affluence can be a noisy, overly active impediment to our intimacy with the Almighty. #WisdomHunters #prosperitygospel
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