Sunday, November 11, 2001

Money makes the world go 'round

I asked a question today in Sunday School. I thought it was a pretty good question, and it got a little traction in class, but I wanted to flesh it out a little.
The line of reasoning leads like this.

Jesus says to look at the birds of the air; do they worry for clothing and food? No, God provides for them beautifully - and if He provides for them how much more will he provide for humans who matter so much more.

Are we to worry about food or shelter?

The quick answer is no.

If we have faith in God, should believe He will provide regardless?

The quick answer is yes.

Does a faithful Christian need a high paying job?

There isn't a quick answer, but let's go with no.

Should a Christian's endeavors have an eternal perspective?

The quick answer is yes.

Does a Christian's occupation count as an endeavor?

The quick answer is yes.

Should a Christian's occupation have an eternal perspective?

The quick answer is yes, but could go two ways on that.

Based on the belief that God provides. Should a Christian have a profession (high paying or not) that does not have an eternal perspective?

The quick answer is no.

This can be gone into more detail when we consider the amount of our lives that are spent at work - and the value of that percentage of our lives. Incidentally, that percentage is astronomical when you remove sleeping hours.

Here's the question: What occupations have an eternal perspective?

This is fascinating. When you no longer need a job to PRODIVE for yourself because you trust God to provide because He is faithful, your occupation has new criteria - an eternal perspective.

The list of occupations with eternal perspective is not short, but at the same time, it is a fraction of the occupations/vocations out there.

But heated discussions can brew with questions like:

Is being a banker really helping bring about the kingdom of God?

Reliably, someone will bring up the point that these types of occupations place Christians into a secular situation where they have the opportunity to witness to a co-worker who might not otherwise learn of Christianity.

Remind them that God makes a way for everyone.

One might even deduce that this reasoning of co-worker witness is somewhat contemporary, and might be more convenient than it is really applicable. It might be more our desire to justify our lifestyles than it is to confront our society and drastically change our lifestyles.

You might ask:

Is God Almighty bound by secular mechanisms to reach people?

Did Jesus need to get a secular job to reach the multitudes?

Did any of the disciples use their secular positions to witness to co-workers?

Someone will surely say here (or before) that money allows things to be accomplished: such as sending missionaries abroad or building a church.

Ask this: Does God need anything?

Finally, conclude with these questions:

Do Christians grow most in sacrifice or abundance?

Does God desire His people to be wealthy?

In light of trusting God to provide, what is the purpose of Christians to have wealth?

Someone will almost assuredly say here that they know or know of a very wealthy Christian who deals very well with their fortune - and in light of their example, they think wealth might be a great idea.

Do possessions and wealth create a deeper walk with Christ?

Should wealthy Christians give what they have to the poor?

Should Christians own expensive homes / cars / clothes / etc.?

This could go forever if you are not careful - what a Christian should or should not do with wealth. For the people who take it seriously, they will likely conclude that wealth should not be a goal of Christians, but may be a gift from God. Others might conclude that wealth is a curse from Satan.

The final point should be to show that Christians live by faith and ought not set wealth as a goal in their lives. Wealth itself may not be sinful, but setting wealth as a priority can edge out other priorities that belong higher in the pile.

No comments: