In Proverbs 30:7-9 it records this prayer "Two things I ask of you, O LORD; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God."
Money is a subject we as Canadians are well versed in. We have stock channels, _ of our newspaper dedicated to the subject- if you read the Globe & Mail or National Post, money magazines, Brian Costello who fancies that he would like to take care of our money, financial advisors, etc, etc.
In light of our environment the prayer of Proverbs 30:7-9 seems almost strange "give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread"
In addition to this have you noticed that no ever takes the time to in our society to teach on the pitfalls that surround the pursuit of money?
The Bible does. I Timothy 6:9-10 says "People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Proverbs 30:7-9 also identifies that those with money tend to become self sufficient and ones who forget God and their need of Him. Money tends to blind people when it comes to their need of Jesus being their Savior.
In Luke 16:14-15 Jesus says to the Pharisees "No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this, and were sneering at Jesus.
In the book of Luke Jesus quite frequently addresses the topic of money. On a number of occasions the rich become his target. In the minds of many of the people of his day was the notion that a materially wealthy person was favored and blessed of God while those without were cursed of God. The Pharisees were by and large quite wealthy; they also happened to be the spiritual leaders in the land of Israel. If anyone thought they would get to Heaven it was the Pharisees. They were convinced that their status as the religious leaders of the land, their Jewish heritage, and there affluence were all guarantors of their spending eternity in Paradise/ Heaven.
To illustrate to the Pharisees the error of their beliefs Jesus tells us a parable we might entitle "The Rich man and Lazarus"
READ Luke 16:19-31
This parable has long been one that has gripped the imagination, particularly in matters pertaining to a persons existence and where they will be following physical death. Many a sermon entirely focused on Hell has been preached from this text.
When Jesus told this parable his primary purpose was not to provide a definitive picture of the afterlife and in particular, Hell.
We must approach this text understanding that Jesus has just portrayed the Pharisees as lovers of money and as ones who believe that worldly riches are a sign of the blessing and favor of God.
In view of this there are a number of lessons for us to glean from this text today.
I. THE TOPIC OF MONEY
1. People with money are expected by God to help those who have none.
Consider this parable….
We are able to manufacture a million reasons for not financially helping someone in need out. –they are lazy, bad managers of their money, I already pay taxes that fund welfare, etc etc.
Yet the principle still stands and this parable illustrates it perfectly
You and I might sometimes say "I don’t have much money, does that mean I shouldn’t give?" Well, just think of the widow who gave her penny at the temple. She gave generously out of her poverty while the others gave tight fistedly out of their wealth.
2. On the same note as point #1 there is a stinging indictment here against those who wantonly gratify themselves and at the same time ignore those who sit under their very noses who have nothing.
Lazarus was unceremoniously dumped -meaning of the word "laid"- by the rich man’s gate. Inside the rich man indulged himself continually while at his gate sat Lazarus longing for his table scraps. The fact that he was longing for the table scraps and the pieces that hit the floor doesn’t mean that he got them either. The irony is that Lazarus—a man made in the image of God is regulated to the position of even being lower than a dog—for dogs were allowed to eat what hit the floor and the implication is that Lazarus didn’t even seem to get those pieces.