We need a certain amount of money in order to sustain our families or, if we are single, our own lives. Most people have to work to get that money. Fair enough.
But beyond that, our first priority should be to know God and especially to hear His voice.
I am convinced that many Christians are snared by the pursuit of wealth over the pursuit of righteousness and the knowledge of God.
I am sure that this has been true in my life also at times.
It is a very deceptive stratagem of the world and the devil.
If we gain wealth but cannot or do not hear from God as to how to use that wealth, how are we better off eternally?
To whom much is given, much will be required.
Jesus told us to preach the gospel to all creation. We can easily do it today by means of technology to a huge number of people.
Instead, the testimony of the church as a whole is that God is “not leading them” to do this.
So many are pursuing wealth. Its a never ending cycle. You get your investments to X dollars, but before you even reached ‘X’, you were dreaming of re-investing to get to ‘5X’.Once ‘5X’ is reached, you might ‘feel led’ to give to some TAX-DEDUCTIBLE Christian charities (digging wells, doing micro finance, whatever) but you didn’t ‘feel led’ to preach the gospel yet or finance that. Instead you wanted to “make bucket loads of money for the ‘Kingdom’ “, which means that the next few years of your life will be devoted to getting to ’25X’ and you will cry poor because all your funds are now tied up in ‘illiquid’ investments and you hardly have enough money to send your children to a good private Christian school and service your Mercedes properly and service the loans on the investment properties etc etc.
All this can go on and on until you either make a few bad investment decisions and lose it all, or you die and leave your wealth to your children.
Jesus talked about ‘the deceitfulness of riches’.
I’m convinced that many people who start off with good intentions, desiring to ‘make money for the Kingdom’ end up in something like the scenario described above. Others try to make money for the Kingdom, but don’t have sound business sense, and end up losing it all and getting themselves into debt.
Our first priority BEFORE riches should be to know God. WHAT IS GOD SAYING TO DO? I know there is a risk here of getting it wrong, and that can be VERY painful – BUT – to abandon the hope of really knowing God’s mind is to give up much that is precious to us, or should be, as followers of Christ. What, are we going to follow Christ but have no hope of knowing what He desires for our lives?! May it never be.
If your heart is soft to God, if you know God, only then can you really be greatly pleasing to God. Of course, meditation on God’s Word (and not just on your favourite Scriptures like Philippians 4:19) would be a great way to get to know God’s heart and mind. But beyond that, God will give you inspirations, thoughts, visions, burdens and leadings that He will confirm for you.
We don’t have to hurry before launching out, but neither should we delay endlessly.
Different personality types have different weaknesses in this regard. Cholerics like myself tend to rush out before the next step is revealed and keep forging ahead until trouble comes. Others tend to analyse and procrastinate until the opportunities have well and truly passed. We need to moderate our natural tendencies in walking wisely with God. That is part of what it means to walk by the Spirit and not by the flesh.
If you DO obtain wealth without obtaining the knowledge of God, what have you gained? What if God then said to you, when you were finally considering following Him wholeheartedly – “Go, sell all you have and give to the poor, and come, follow me”. Where then would be all that you have labored for?
But if you seek God first and come to know His heart and His specific plans for your life, including whatever service you are to do, or whatever visions you are to fulfil, then God can supernaturally direct you to people, or people to you, so that the vision is financed.
There have been a lot of people who have been effective servants of God who, out of frustration with the lack of giving in the Body of Christ, decided to use their talents for making money first. They gained money, but as they grew older, it became more and more clear that they were themselves never going to participate in the thrill of following Jesus and trusting Him to provide for a supernatural ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit.
If we have money, we have responsibility. We are responsible for what we could do with that money in obedience to God, for the extension of God’s Kingdom. Its not always a calculated decision, but its something that requires us to really know God. I don’t want the responsibility of having money I am not supposed to have. I don’t want to fall down through lack of capacity to faithfully manage what God allows to come into my hands. Let me learn first better how to hear God.
I just KNOW that the situation where evangelists cannot survive in Australia is NOT according to God’s will. I KNOW that God wants the gospel to go in local languages through television to all peoples of the world. These things are NOT popular targets for giving today. Nevertheless, I am not responsible for being the Holy Spirit to others. All I can do is seek God and seek to obey Him.
I recommit myself therefore to seeking God. Only if He wants me to be a successful property developer or business tycoon or whatever will I pursue these. I want to make sure I am attending to the basic things of being a follower of Jesus FIRST. I hope I never have to run after business deals, but if I do, I don’t want to miss anything of intimacy with God.