Summary: 1. Choose humility over being haughty. 2. Trust your God more than your gold. 3. Choose generosity over greed.
God’s Will for Our Wealth
Sermon by Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church - Sept. 26, 2010
*Are you rich? -- Most of us would say, “I sure don’t feel rich.” But think about it.
-Last year, “Parade Magazine” noted that if all of the money in the world was redistributed so everyone had the same amount, everyone would have $9,000.
-For half the world’s people that would equal more that 12 years of income, for many it would be a lot more than 12 years income. (1)
*Are we rich? -- Years ago, Lucy Pearson at Clemson wrote this comparison of the world’s population: If the whole world only had 100 people:
-70 would be non-Christian.
-One half of the entire world’s wealth would be in the hands of only 6 people.
-70 would be unable to read.
-50 would suffer from malnutrition.
-80 would live in sub-standard housing with no plumbing or electricity.
-And only 1 would have a college education. (2)
*Are we rich? -- One of the Sunday School lessons this month was on Jesus and the rich young ruler. After studying this same Bible story, William Boice wrote the following prayer:
“Dear Lord, I have been re-reading the record of the rich young ruler and his obviously wrong choice. But it has set me thinking. No matter how much wealth he had, he could not ride in a car, have any surgery, turn on a light, buy penicillin, hear a pipe organ, watch TV, wash dishes in running water, type a letter, mow a lawn, fly in an airplane, sleep on an innerspring mattress, or talk on the phone. -- If he was rich, then what am I? (3)
*I know we don’t feel rich, but compared to most of the people who have ever lived, we are incredibly wealthy. What is God’s will for rich people like us?
1. First: choose humility over being haughty.
*As Paul said in the first part of vs. 17: “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty.”
*Don’t be haughty.
-Paul is talking about people who are conceited.
-People who think they are better than others.
-People who are in love with themselves.
-People who don’t understand that every good gift and every perfect gift comes from God.
*He’s talking about people with excessive and unrestrained self-esteem.
-People with a high and unreasonable view of their excellence or importance.
*In this passage the focus is on wealth. Why are we wealthy people tempted to think too highly of ourselves?
*Pastor Coty Pinckney explained “we are tempted to believe that we deserve whatever we have and to think that people who have less than us are not as smart, not as hardworking, or not as talented as we are.”
*He says, “It is true that the person who is a diligent worker, who is wise in making investments, who is saving regularly is likely on average to have more than the person who is the opposite in all those ways. However, there are many, many accidents (from a secular point of view) that lead one person to have more than another: birth place, birth parents, native language, primary school teachers, people you happen to get to know.”
*Pastor Pinckney then gave this example: “Some of hardest working people I know, who also have made the wisest investments available to them are East African farmers. And their hard work and wise investments have indeed improved their lot, but because of poor government and their initial poverty, these people are still among the very poor, having to raise a large family while earning only $3 to $4 per day.” (4)
*Don’t you see?
-Every good thing we have really is a gift from God.
-And it’s only by His grace that we have anything at all.
*In Deuteronomy 8:14-18, God warned His people about getting lifted up with pride, when they were prosperous. In the NLT, Moses said:
14. Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt.
15. Do not forget that he led you through the great and terrifying wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, where it was so hot and dry. He gave you water from the rock!
16. He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good.
17. He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’
18. Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath.