Saturday, December 12, 2015

Do We Need Constantly More Money To Do A Better Work In The Kingdom Of God?

Is Poverty A Curse For The Believer?

Question : Is poverty a curse for the believer? The word translated as Father in Greek means Provider and Creator.. that is why Jesus said, call no man your Provider or Creator (Father)...Poverty is a curse for a Believer... Jesus was never poor...He had what He needed... We are called to seek only desires of the Kingdom of God and as a result God has promised to provide our needs in this world. Does 2 Corinthians 8:9 emphasize, ‘we all need money and the more money we have the better work we can do for the Kingdom of God, money is essential in this world and without money we cannot be successful’. Did what the wise men gave from the East was enough financially and well provided for years to come for the whole family of Jesus (Matt 2:1-2, 11), so that the family was never in need or poor?

Answer :
2 Cor 8:9 says, "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich." Here it does emphasize that Jesus left His heavenly glory to become a poor baby in a manger which even the poorest of the poor will not choose and chose to die as like a sinner on behalf of us in shame (Luke 2:7), so that we poor sinful humans like us could believe in Him and become the sons of God receiving the rights of God's children as a gracious gift from Him (Rom 6:23; Gal 3:26; John 1:12).

Jesus left His glory and became poor so that we humans who were lost and have fallen short of the Glory of God might regain it. To speak in term of just material prosperity is a wrong interpretation of this very Scripture and a understatement that makes the value of being the spiritual children of God to become cheap, but at least we can say that is included in the package as God has promised to provide all our need in Christ Jesus
(Php 4:19). In the NT, every penny God provides is for us to fulfill His purpose for our lives. To say that more the money we have, the better we can work for the kingdom of God and be successful without which we cannot be is a false statement that is made to look like the true. The apostle Paul said that the Kingdom of God is not in big words of eloquence or in money power, but rather in dynamite power of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 4:20). Great apostles like Peter and John together did not have silver or gold, they only had this dunamis [i.e. dynamite like] power of the Holy Spirit with which they were able to do great and notable miracles to make people flock in to the Kingdom of God (Acts 3:6-7, 8, 10). The apostle Paul who turned the world upside down for Jesus with this power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 17:6), was by his own word many times hungry and thirsty without enough food, many times he fasted by taking this situation as the will of God, he did not have enough clothes to cover himself from freezing cold, many times was caught up in disasters and natural calamities, were in great dangers of being robbed and killed by evil men, five times his back was ripped apart with 39 stripes for preaching the gospel, dangers in the wilderness, cities, sea and among false brethren who wanted to destroy them and frequently put in prisons and kept to die alone (2 Cor 11:23-27). All other apostles of Jesus who lived for Him with their whole heart also lived like these men with not much money but great power of God operating in them and through them. This shows that to be successful as the child of God, one need not have much money except what is needed to carry on the purpose of God for our lives. And that too God has promised to provide all our needs like what we need to fulfill God's will for us in a particular day including food and clothing progressively day by day (Matt 6:9-13), so that we might continue to seek the Kingdom of God first in our lives. There is that makes himself rich, yet has nothing to take for eternity: there is that makes himself poor, yet has great riches stored up for eternity by doing the will of God (Prov 13:7). These men of God who followed Jesus wholeheartedly were not ascetic by any means, but they were those who have learned to be content with whatever the Father provided for them to fulfill the will of God for their lives. They used what they had for the kingdom of God and made themselves poor, yet God provided them all their needs day to day in their lives to fulfill His will. Praise the Lord!

I believe the gifts that God provided for the baby Jesus through the wise men were enough for them to escape and live in the alien land of Egypt until they returned back to their own land in Nazareth in the region of Galilee
(Matt 2:19-23). But this provision cannot be speculated to make the family rich without need because again after returning to their own land, the Father and mother of Jesus lived not as a royal family in great and extravagant riches but like all other people as in their times to work and survive through their lives day to day (Luke 2:24, 39; Lev 12:7-8; Luke 2:41-42, 43-44, 45, 48-49; Luke 4:22; John 6:42; Matt 13:54-57). In other words, Jesus lived the same, looked the same, talked the same and walked the same as a common man in the vicinity of Nazareth of Galilee region so much so that when Jesus started to perform His miraculous teaching ministry, they all felt very jealous about him and they were offended at Him. In fact if Joseph had much riches he need not even would have continued the simple menial job of being a carpenter. So this shows that Jesus grew up as a common man if not a poor man (Psa 37:25), and they were in need many times so that his father has to be a bread winner for them all.

Poverty cannot be a curse for the believer always because James the apostle said,
" 5 Listen to me, dear brothers: God has chosen poor people to be rich in faith, and the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs, for that is the gift God has promised to all those who love him. 6 And yet, of the two strangers, you have despised the poor man. Don't you realize that it is usually the rich men who pick on you and drag you into court? 7 And all too often they are the ones who laugh at Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear. 8 Yes indeed, it is good when you truly obey our Lord's command, "You must love and help your neighbors just as much as you love and take care of yourself."" (Jam 2:5-7). In other words, "God has chosen poor people to be rich in faith" means physical poverty can become a spiritual blessing to the same poor believers. The materially rich people unless God has broken them completely (Psa 34:18; 147:3; Isa 61:1; 57:15; 66:2), many times they get puffed up and start to depend on themselves and their riches rather than on God, which is a spiritual curse for them (Matt 19:24; Jer 17:5). And also the Bible says, "The rich and poor have this in common: The LORD made them both." (Prov 22:2, LB) which shows that God sometimes makes some people to be poor materially but rich in faith to show to the world which believes in riches that abundant life is more than possessing worldly wealth, it is actually possessing the heavenly life of God through Jesus Christ (John 10:10). In fact, apostle James told the leading leaders of the Church who are readers of his epistle to not show partiality to the rich within the Church as that is the natural fleshly mind of all humans in which the child of God should never remain in (Jam 2:1-4), but rather he told them to see themselves as God sees them spiritually and not materially as the world does. Here is what James says, "9 A Christian who doesn't amount to much in this world should be glad, for he is great in the Lord's sight. 10 But a rich man should be glad that his riches mean nothing to the Lord, for he will soon be gone, like a flower that has lost its beauty and fades away, withered--killed by the scorching summer sun. So it is with rich men. They will soon die and leave behind all their busy activities." (James 1:9-10, LB).

Also Apostle James rebuked the rich people who trusted in their wealth by saying,
"13 Look here, you people who say, "Today or tomorrow we are going to such and such a town, stay there a year, and open up a profitable business." 14 How do you know what is going to happen tomorrow? For the length of your lives is as uncertain as the morning fog--now you see it; soon it is gone. 15 What you ought to say is, "If the Lord wants us to, we shall live and do this or that." 16 Otherwise you will be bragging about your own plans, and such self-confidence never pleases God. 17 Remember, too, that knowing what is right to do and then not doing it is sin." (James 4:13, 14-17, LB). In other words, James warns the rich self-confident people that they will not please the Lord as long as they act this way, but if they change their attitude to become God-confident to depend on God and His will each day to glorify Him, then they will not be in sin but rather enjoy the righteousness and favor of God each day of their lives.

Again before ending the epistle he warns the rich people of this world to cry for mercy before God and change their evil hearted self-confident behavior by saying,
"1 Look here, you rich men, now is the time to cry and groan with anguished grief because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. 2 Your wealth is even now rotting away, and your fine clothes are becoming mere moth-eaten rags. 3 The value of your gold and silver is dropping fast, yet it will stand as evidence against you and eat your flesh like fire. That is what you have stored up for yourselves to receive on that coming day of judgment. 4 For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. Their cries have reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts. 5 You have spent your years here on earth having fun, satisfying your every whim, and now your fat hearts are ready for the slaughter. 6 You have condemned and killed good men who had no power to defend themselves against you." (Jam 5:1-6, Living Bible). Again in the above verses we see clearly that a temptation of covetousness is a reality for all those who are rich in this present world and those love money will never be satisfied with any amount of it which will actually only end in more and many sorrows (Eccl 5:10; 1 Tim 6:10).

So we as believers should understand that there is a blessing of faith in poverty, and also a curse in the riches of materialism. It is better for us not to desire to be rich and then fall in to temptation and a snare, and in to many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition
(1 Time 6:9). Always it is good to be wise, be content and be satisfied with food and clothing now in this short life, and seek after the Kingdom of God and immortality in the life to come and be blessed spiritually for eternity ahead and receive eternal riches for our spiritual life we lived on earth (1 Tim 6:6, 7-8; Matt 6:19-21, 33; Rom 2:7). In other words, the Bible through and through emphasizes the value of spiritual life lived for God is always better than a thousand life of all material riches and great wealth lived for ourselves which is worth nothing in the end as we will all leave everything to pass out of this world (Luke 12:13-21; Eccl 2:3-11).

At the same time if God has given riches in to our hands, it is our duty to multiply it and bless people with it and extend the Kingdom of God with it
(Eccl 2:26; 3:9; 5:18-20; Matt 25:21, 23). Money in the hands of the believer is a test given to him by God, if they pass the test in using it faithfully in the way God wants them to use, only then the true spiritual blessing of heaven are given to them which has been kept for them to inherit (Luke 16:9-13; Rev 3:11). So people who think that they are materially blessed by God because of God's favor, should learn to be careful to use it the way God wants them to use or else fail in the test of God to lose their eternal riches which God has for them (Rom 12:8).

The best way to train our lives is neither deep poverty without having faith to receive the daily needs from the Father God who gives, nor indulge in riches so much so as to depart from true faith to forget the giver and use it for ourselves, but rather receive from God contentment in whatever state we are and then enjoy God's abundant life from heaven within to rejoice always and keep seeking and building the kingdom of God as long as we live on earth so that we will receive God's abundance now and in the age to come eternal life
(Prov 30:7-9; Psa 37:25; Php 4:11-12, 13; John 10:10; Luke 12:29-30, 31-34; Matt 19:27-29; Mark 10:28-30).

Also the point of Father as the Creator and Provider is a wonderful example of how the believers must trust in God's providential care for them individually and receive it through living a life of faith
(Matt 6:25-32). If we choose to seek to fulfill God's will for our lives by living in His joy, peace and exercising the right and righteous way of Kingdom living...automatically all the needs in our lives will be provided by God to fulfill His will for our lives (Matt 6:33-34; Rom 14:17).

If you ask me, as a believer how can I live full and die rich? I would say, have faith in God to provide all your needs, thanks Him always and learn to be content in everything, so that you will live full of joy and die full of eternal riches which God will provide for you to keep you rich forever eternally before Him through His riches that He will provide.

Much Blessings.....


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