169. The jar remains full

It is a privilege to talk about the highest principles of life.  It is the marvel of the Bible.  I appreciate the theologians and apologists and other academics of various disciplines and love to listen to them.  I thank God for them.  They study the big questions; those that David says he avoids (Psalms 131:1). There are deep and difficult matters that require insight and wisdom.  They usually answer the deeper life questions by responding to four aspects of existence.  Each worldview needs to answer these questions, whether it is Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Christian or Atheists.  The root issues are: origin, morality, meaning and destiny.  I can truly recommend their talks on what it means to be human.  Do yourself a favour and brush up on some serious thinking.  https://youtu.be/aRChfvNYEqI

It is worthwhile to take a step back and think bigger.  Better still – soar like and eagle and help yourself to some God-insight and the mighty things He promises (Jeremiah 33:3).  Our most important decision in our entire life is the decision to follow Jesus; to surrender our life to him and “emigrate” to the invisible Kingdom of God on earth.  It is only in this certainty of salvation that all four life questions are answered satisfactorily.  It affords us a life of love and grace and a constant reminder of wise discernment for the most important things in our everyday existence.

One of those things is money.  Many people do not want to talk about money.  They think Jesus spoke derogatory about money being evil when He said we cannot serve God and Mammon. (Matthew 6:24).  Mammon is defined as: wealth regarded as an evil influence or false object of worship and devotion. Medieval writers used it to indicate unfulfilled covetousness.

It is logical that unquenchable over-indulgence and insatiable desires are wrong.  Desire becomes a god that demands worship with ever more and more destructive behaviour and spending.  Money becomes the solution to every problem humanly possible, until the devastation is such that the person is devoured by his own desires.  Poor people often worship money and see it as the only answer. Rich people know that money is not the answer.  Money cannot mend relationships.  It is often the cause of many rifts and brokenness.  There is only so much that money can buy; only so many clothes and shoes one can possess; so many houses one can live in and travel to; only so much to drink and to eat in all the luxury imaginable.  The excess of spending money is a sickening search for meaning and inner peace that possessions and lifestyle can never offer.

Only God can redeem life of its “nothingness”, says the One Volume Bible Commentary, an inherited-from-my-mother, well-read, bulky, covered in fabric and falling apart hardcover that adorns my shelf of precious books here where I sit and write.

Years ago, there was a programme on television about the life of the Woolworth-heiress.  She inherited a third of the father’s fortune and together with what she received from her grandmother and mother, she was the richest woman in the world.  Until her death in 1979 at the age of 66, she spent $900 million. Her mother committed suicide when she was four years old.  She hardly ever saw her father.  Over her lifetime, she drifted in and out of seven marriages, mostly to European nobility, some self-proclaimed titled former royalty.  Each divorce was a huge financial setback, except her divorce from Cary Grant, the actor, who wanted none of her money and later said he was probably the only person in the world who really loved her.  People admired her for her super-luxurious life, following her decline into drugs and alcohol abuse.  Her only child, a son, from her second marriage, died in a plane crash at age 36. She was devastated by his death and eventually died alone and almost broke.  All the money in the world could not buy stability and love, the things she truly yearned for.

The only worth it title in this world, is the privilege to be called children of God.

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 John 3:1)

Peter calls us royal priests and a chosen people, children of the light.  Our titles give us access to the best life possible – a life in the Kingdom of God with all the splendour and wonder of God’s presence.

But what about the practical demands of life? That is after all the test.  We need money.  We cannot live without it and even though it does not rule over our thoughts and actions, we have to earn money so that we can live.

God knows it well.  He promises us provision in abundance and commands us not to worry about it.

Although we should not worry about our daily concerns, there is a deeper challenge.  In a dark, unstable and politically volatile time in the history of Jerusalem, the prophet Habakkuk spoke to the remnant and said:

“Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith.  (Habakkuk 2:4)

His words were repeated by Paul:

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)

But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God isevident, for “the just shall live by faith.” (Galatians 3:11)

As well as in Hebrews:

Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” (Hebrews 10:38)

It is a wonderful, powerful principle as long as we are part of the “just”.  Just who are they exactly?

Read with me from Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers:

The whole object of the coming of the Messiah was to make men “righteous” before God. This was done more especially by the death of Christ upon the cross, which, as we learn from Romans 3:24-26had the effect of making God “propitious” towards men. The benefit of this act is secured to all who make good their claim to be considered members of the Messianic kingdom by a loyal adhesion to the Messiah. Such persons are treated as if they were “righteous,” though the righteousness that is thus attributed to them is not any actual merit of their own, but an ideal condition in which they are placed by God. This is the well-known doctrine of justification by faith.(My emphasis)

The cross of Jesus justified men before God and if we choose Jesus, we are the righteousness of God in Christ (Romans 3:22). Faith in Jesus is our justification, NOT merit or our own effort of right living.

Now, my justified friend, listen to the promise of provision.

Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.
(Malachi 3:10)

The only response to words like this would be: I lift my hands to my God and King.  Praise his holy and mighty Name.

It is impossible to review all the promises and guidance about money.  Let us discuss one more aspect and then we continue in the next piece.

Isaiah 58 is one of the key chapters in the Old Testament to grasp the “spirit” of the law of Moses.  Please read it in its entirety so that the Holy Spirit can interpret it for you into your heart, especially your attitude towards the poor and the Sabbath.

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?

 Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

Hear the promise in verse 11:

 The Lord will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

A life of excellence without worry. Surrender, Pebble pal and let faith be your foundation in money matters.

Next time we will have a look at the New Testament’s guide on money matters.

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