Jesus, our Kinsman Redeemer


 

The story of Ruth is dynamic. Within the lines of the story is a truth that not only changed Ruth’s life but will change yours as well!

Ruth “happened” to go to work in a field that was owned by a man named Boaz. Ruth didn’t know who he was but Ruth’s mother in law, Naomi did know who Boaz was and she knew something else that ended up changing everything for Ruth and Naomi. Naomi, an Israelite knew about the role of the kinsman redeemer.

God through Moses had given to Israel a law which came to be known as the law of the kinsman redeemer. This law was intended to negate the destructive effects of being widowed, left without heirs and poor because of death. If a man died and was left without an heir his brother was to take his sister in law as his wife, support her and give her an heir which would succeed her husband and be heir to all that was the father’s. Failure to fulfill this role meant the abandonment of a family member, which brought great shame in Israel.

This law plays a tremendous role in the fulfillment of Ruth’s destiny, but it also plays a tremendous role in the fulfillment of yours.

The Word of God reveals the heart and will of God. The Word tells us of God’s remedy for destroying the lasting effects of death. The remedy is the law of the kinsman redeemer. It is not God’s will for a family member to be abandoned. Death is not to have lasting destructive effects. Knowing about this, Naomi told Ruth to take off her widow’s dress and go to the threshing floor and find Boaz. When Boaz lies down to rest, raise the mantle covering him, cover yourself with it and lay down at his feet. In the culture of those days, servants working with their master at the threshing floor would often lie down at the feet of the master and cover themselves with his mantle for protection from the cold.

In Israel, the mantle served a practical purpose in protecting the wearer from the elements. But, it also had a spiritual purpose in that a mantle represented the anointing, spiritual protection and calling of the wearer.

Ruth comes as a servant, trusting in the truth of the Word of God which reveals the heart and will of God, and covers herself with the mantle of the master. When Boaz awakens and wants to know who is lying at his feet, Ruth says:

“I am Ruth, your servant. Take me under your wing (mantle) for you are my kinsman redeemer.”

God intends for the law of the kinsman redeemer to serve as a law for us as well. God has given us the remedy that leads to redemption from the effects of the destruction of sin. The Word of God is the revelation of God’s heart. It reveals Jesus as our kinsman redeemer. Jesus, our kinsman redeemer will take those who approach Him as a lowly servant, having purchased them and their future by His blood – He will return them to the family of God and will release their inheritance and destiny!

The heart of God is seen in Boaz. He tells Ruth, “Blessed are you! I know your story! You did not run after the options of the world, but have remained faithful!”

“I will fulfill God’s purpose in your life!”

No matter who or what appears to have control of our destiny, Jesus will not rest until the law of the kinsman redeemer is fulfilled! Notice Ruth didn’t have to go to the gate to argue her case before the court. Neither do we. Jesus paid it all. We simply have to agree with His Word!

Now, let’s end where we began:

Matthew 1:1-6: The book of the lineage of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king.

Ruth was once considered destitute. But because of the kinsman redeemer, she ends up with restored inheritance and position! Because of Jesus, your Kinsman Redeemer, so can you!

 

Right Place – Right Season – Right Equipment


God is doing a quick work right now that will result in an increased flow of the Spirit in your life!

The person God is using as an example of what He is doing in this season is Ruth. The family that Ruth married into was an Israelite family who had to leave everything behind because of famine and move to Moab. Ruth married one of the two sons in the family. During the time the family was in Moab, Ruth’s father in law died and both her husband and brother in law died. Once Ruth’s sister in law decided to leave Ruth and her mother in law, Naomi are alone.

Prospects for their present and future were extremely bleak. Left without land and income, the two women were in deep trouble.

But, a series of events occurred that began a supernatural move of God in their lives. The series of events included critical decisions that had to be made and the supernatural leadership of God.

One of the destiny changing events occurred when Naomi decided to return back home. Returning to the land of God’s blessing started everything in motion. If you are away from the place of God’s blessing, then your journey begins with getting there.

Ruth was given the option to return to her family of origin. Her sister in law had chosen this option. But, Ruth decided to stay in what she believed God had called her to and where God had called her to be and didn’t make decisions based upon what she saw in the “natural”. She linked her future to God’s plan rather than her self interests. This was a destiny shaping decision.

As the women returned to Israel, something was going on that would play a huge part in their story that they had nothing to do with: it was all orchestrated by God. They arrived in Israel at harvest time: the right season for their breakthrough!

Can you say, “The right season!”

Now, I want to say something about “divine connections”.

Ruth can’t just sit on her hands. Something needs to be done so that she and her mother in law, Naomi can eat. So, Ruth goes to find a field where she can begin to pick up the grain that falls away after the gleaning process is done by the reapers. In other words, she is after the “leftovers”.

But, another event happens that is an act of God. Ruth “happens” to come to the field that belongs to a man named Boaz, who is of the same family as Elimelech, Ruth’s father in law.

Ruth didn’t end up in just any field: she ended up in the field that belonged to someone who would play a huge role in her future destiny!

Can you say, “The right place!”

Some of you feel as if you are destined for “leftovers”. If you are faithful to your calling – if you decide to tie your fortunes to God’s plan for your life – if you reject decisions based solely upon what will be in your best interests rather than the will of God – if you know what season your are in and are willing to do the activities proper for that season – God will divinely direct you and shape your destiny!

Ruth is at the right place at the right time. Are you at the right place at the right time? 

Ruth understands the season. It is not time to plant. It is not time to plow the ground. It is harvest time. When you know the season you are in, you can choose the right equipment and actions for that season. Ruth took with her the right equipment needed to harvest and went to work in the field.

Can you say, “The right equipment!”

This is the right season for you according to what I’m hearing from the Lord. Are you at the place where God can bless you? Get there and take with you the right equipment to get busy about the Father’s business! If you take these simple steps, God will divinely direct your paths and soon, you will find out that you are not having to settle for “leftovers” nor are you a tragic statistic of life’s pain but you are an example of God’s goodness and redemptive power on display for all to see!

Divine appointments are scheduled for those who yoke their future to the will of God!

It is Coming!


There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV

If you go on to read the verses following verse one, you will see that, within the will of God, there are seasons of birthing and death, weeping and laughter, scattering and gathering, war and peace, etc. Seasons come and go despite what we do. Each season has an activity that is appropriate for that season. You do different activities in winter than you do in spring. 

Do you know what season it is?

The Lord has told me to encourage you. We are in a season in which it is possible to go from where you currently are to a better season of life. No matter where you are on the spectrum: destitution or anything in between, this is a season of harvest!

Are there conditions? Sure! Most of the time, there are conditions to a promise. If you are going to see God’s seasonal power, you are going to have to submit to Him. But, for those who recognize the season and the activities appropriate for that season – lookout!

Matthew 1:1-16 is a part of the Bible few are interested in. It lists the genealogy of Jesus. In that genealogy are listed many people; all who have had good and bad happen to them.

Notice the first few words of this chapter: This is the genealogy of Jesus. The people listed in the genealogy were a part of the story of Jesus. Therefore, the circumstances of the people’s lives within these chronicles lead to the appearance of Jesus! All of those listed that we read were less than perfect people, yet God used them in the appearance of Jesus!

We are going to focus in on one lady: Ruth. Her trip to prosperity included passing through destitution. Here’s how she responded to adversity.

This is the story of a family that was experiencing hard times. The family had relocated to Ruth’s home town just to survive. Ruth marries one of the two sons of the family after they arrive in her home town.

Ruth’s mother in law was named Naomi. During the family’s time in Ruth’s home town, Ruth lost her father in law, her husband, and her brother in law to death. That left Naomi, Ruth and her sister in law, Orpah to fend for themselves. In those days, it was very difficult for a woman to make a living by herself. If she had land, who would work it? Unless she had something she could sell on an ongoing basis, prospects were bleak.

Naomi is left with two daughters in law: Orpah and Ruth. Naomi hears that things are better back home so she decides to leave.  Naomi tells the two women that they should return home to their families. Life ahead for Naomi may not be easy and there is nothing left in her household for the two women.

A life changing decision; a destiny creating decision was made the day of this conversation. One daughter in law – Orpah kissed her mother in law and left. But, Ruth clung to her mother in law.

One was a “leaver” and the other was a “cleaver”. One made a decision based solely upon her own prospects. The other (Ruth) made a decision based upon her calling. She believed that she had been added to Naomi by God, therefore, her fortunes would be found in God’s plan and not outside of it!

The “leaver” didn’t make the genealogy of Jesus but the “cleaver” did!

This one decision set the course for everything that God would do later. If Ruth would have “kissed and said goodbye” then we would have heard nothing more about her. Instead, she clung to the will of God for her life!

When Naomi and Ruth arrive in Judah, the women of the city can’t believe they are coming home empty handed.

Naomi is so discouraged that she tells people:

Don’t call me Naomi (pleasant) anymore! From now on, my name (identity) is Mara (bitter).

Naomi believed that God had abandoned her and had become her enemy. Anyone ever feel that way?

Naomi really didn’t believe that anything could make a difference in her life at this point.  But, something outside of her control was happening that would serve as a catalyst for her and Ruth:

Naomi and Ruth arrived in Judah at harvest time! The season set the stage for what would be a dramatic turnaround in the life of Naomi and Ruth.

God used the circumstances of the season as a catalyst for a whole list of divine miracles for the two women.

The season is right for your turnaround! What is God telling you to do right now? Do it! Your harvest is at hand!

 

 

 

Undiscovered Room


I have been in a month of revelation from God. He has been giving me a glimpse of what is happening behind the scenes and what He has planned and both are mind blowing! Part of this series of revelations involved a dream. I want to share with you one of the themes of the dream. I hope it will bless you!

Your godly inheritance is much larger than you know. There are rooms that at this time are fully operational and fully equipped but you have yet to discover these places. You have not discovered them yet because of sin or neglect but simply because of timing. Now is the time to step into new areas of your inheritance. The Spirit of God is in the process of unveiling or revealing new areas of ministry and revelation. When He shows you a new room – move into it! Begin to utilize all of what God has prepared for you.

 

There is provision already in store for the operation of the new areas you will inhabit. Don’t be afraid! It is already prepared, made accessible and the doors are open.

 

Some of the new rooms that are prepared for you to utilize are currently inhabited by the enemy. Not all – just some. These areas are yours – they are a part of your spiritual property – deeded spiritually to you but the enemy has moved in with the goal to stop you from utilizing them. It will take active warfare to evict the enemy. Prayer is a key to this new season. Fresh levels of revelation and discernment are available but you must decide to move into it. God is ordering the past to serve His current purposes so forget the past and focus on Him.

Things don’t have to be perfect to move forward. God is not looking at perfection but process. Things on this planet will always be in process. You are responsible for being in the middle of His processes. If you are, this is a season of new discovery! It is time to move into new areas of the inheritance of God!

Get closer to Him than ever. Set up an altar of fellowship with God in your house and visit there daily! Prayer is the key to your power! What He shows you, receive it and don’t reject it. Now is the time of not just visitation but habitation! See your inheritance, enter it, inhabit it, utilize it, glorify Him in it!

 

2018! A Word from the Spirit.


Before the beginning of a new year, I always ask the Lord for some insight into what He wants me to believe for as the new year begins. When I pray for this insight, I always double check myself to be sure that what I’m hearing is from the Holy Spirit and not some type of emotional foreboding or hope on my part. As I prayed and sought the Lord for 2018, this is the scripture the Lord led me to:

You crown the year with Your goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance. Psalm 65:11

As the month of January has progressed, I’ve continued to have unsolicited confirmations of this word. I believe that we have entered a season in which God will answer some prayers that have been before Him for a long time. Faithfulness in prayer and Spirit led living is going to be rewarded during this season. To the faithful: Get ready! God is up to something good!

2018 has been ordained and anointed with God’s goodness and for those who follow His pathways, you will find His exceeding, abundantly “above” materializing in your walk!

Be faithful and “cheer up!” God has heard your cries! This is a season of response!

Overlooked Aspects of Fasting


It’s time for our church-wide fast!

We don’t study a lot about fasting anymore because it is not something we do very often. I think one of the reasons we don’t fast is because we don’t understand fasting. There have been several good books written on fasting and I’m not pretending to know more than those authors. But, I would love to talk about some of the overlooked aspects of fasting.

When speaking of a fast, Pastor Bob used to say, “I don’t know why they call it a fast because it sure does go slow!”

That was always my view! Fasting was always very hard for me as a believer. Primarily for two reasons:

  1. I didn’t understand why we fasted.
  2. During the fast, my focus was on how much I was suffering.

Think of it this way:

If I were to ask you what is the most powerful carnal drive we have, what would you say?

How about food?

From the moment we leave our mother’s womb, the drive to eat is present and powerful. If the truth be told, as we grow our appetite and diet is one of the most undisciplined areas of our lives.

Some may say, “Pastor, food is necessary for life!”

So are many things, some involuntary and some voluntary. We will not fast heartbeats and breathing. Although food is necessary for life, it is also one of the things that kills if it remains undisciplined!

Fasting allow us to get control of the appetite. Once we control the appetite, we control the strongest carnal desire we have. When you control the strongest carnal desire, you can control them all!

1 Corinthians 6:12: “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Foods for the stomach, and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”

There are a lot of physically healthy reasons to fast but I won’t go into those because that is a benefit but not my focus. Let’s go to Isaiah 58 to understand the spiritual aspect of fasting.

Verse 3 states that there is a fast which is performed to no spiritual benefit. Verse 5 states that God is not interested or moved when we afflict our bodies and act religiously. Verse 6 begins to tell us about the power of fasting.

The Power of Fasting

  1. To loose the bonds of wickedness.
  2. To undo heavy burdens.
  3. To let the oppressed go free.
  4. To break every yoke.

The implication here is to “violently” destroy these things whether they want to go or not. I was always on the defensive when I was fasting; trying to survive the fast! Fasting is an offensive weapon against the roots that hold us and others captive! Daniel fasted for himself (for revelation) and for Israel to be forgiven and freed.

Fasting is not an excuse for us to be pitiful. We are to wash our faces and comb our hair and go about business as normal because our warfare is not against flesh and blood – your flesh or others!

Matthew 6:16: “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly”.

When we fast, we don’t try to make it through by distracting ourselves with pleasures. Nor do we get angry because we are fasting and give everyone hell. There is ministry we do during our fast as well.

The Ministry of Fasting

  1. Share your food that you don’t eat during your fast with others.
  2. Take others into your home for ministry.
  3. Clothe those who need clothing.
  4. Minister to your family.

This is the overlooked aspect of fasting: That we are to minister to others as well as seek ministry for ourselves.

If we seek God humbly and on His terms, we can expect to experience the power of fasting.

The Product of Fasting

  1. Your light shall break forth like the morning – light of the lamp, light of the heavens, light of a clear sunshiny day, light of life, light of prosperity, light of instruction, light of the face.
  2. Your healing will speedily appear – complete recovery.
  3. Your righteousness shall go before you – shall be your leader.
  4. The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard- God has your back, your weaknesses and your vulnerabilities.
  5. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer and say, “Here I am!”

 

The Wee Little Man


Today, I will end the series of blogs called, “Jesus’ Perspective on Giving” by taking a look at Zacchaeus.

Before we do, I want to remind you that this series came about through a prompting from the Holy Spirit. I feel that much is being taught regarding money and Christian life that is outside of biblical direction. I don’t have issues with anyone, just want to know the truth.

Now, on to the story.

Those who have been around the church since they were children know the story of Zacchaeus. We learned a song about Zacchaeus when we were children. You remember?

Our focus tonight is not on Zacchaeus’ height but upon his life.

Zacchaeus was a Jew and he was a chief tax collector. This made him extremely unpopular with his fellow Jews and the religious leaders. As a matter of fact, tax collectors were considered sinners. They were hated for two primary reasons:

  1. They taxed Jewish people to give money to their Roman oppressors.
  2. They often took more than they were supposed to for personal gain.

Zacchaeus must have taken more than what he was supposed to because of his response to Jesus’ visit. Upon meeting Jesus, Zacchaeus responded by saying:

If I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.

It might have been more accurate if Zacchaeus would have said, “What I have taken…..” I don’t know why he would have said he would restore if he had not taken/stolen.

We are all so moved by his true repentance followed by a desire to restore what was stolen to his fellow man. But, his repentance was also accompanied by a conviction to change his lifestyle. The Bible tells us that Zacchaeus was rich. Now, restoration of stolen goods is one thing that reflected his true repentance. But, there was another aspect reflected in his true repentance:

A lifestyle change.

Zacchaeus said:

I give half of my goods to the poor.

So, two things happened that day which reflected Zacchaeus’ change: he restored what he had stolen and he changed his lifestyle.

Notice what Jesus said and didn’t say. He didn’t say: “Zacchaeus, there is no need to give half your goods to the poor. You have already restored what was not yours.”

You see, Zacchaeus had a revelation that everything he had was not his. How many of us have truly had such a revelation?

Upon hearing Zacchaeus’ words, Jesus says:

“Today, salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham.”

I have heard some teach that Abraham is our father in the faith. I agree. I have heard them say that we are to follow Abraham’s example of faith. I agree. I have heard them say that we are heir to the blessings of Abraham. I agree.

But, if riches were an indicator of the blessing of Abraham, then why didn’t Jesus tell Zacchaeus not to give away his wealth? Jesus said that Zacchaeus was a son of Abraham. So are you and I in the Spirit.

Zacchaeus’ deliverance was evidenced by his willingness to change his lifestyle to match that mirrored by the heart of God.

To wrap this up:

Some might ask me: What do I do with my money to live a lifestyle pleasing to God?

I would say that the steps are:

  1. Realize that everything you have is God’s: you are a steward.
  2. Realize that riches are not an evidence of God’s favor.
  3. Realize that poverty is not an evidence of godliness.
  4. Resist the “deceitful voice” of money.
  5. Ask God to reveal to you what a biblical lifestyle looks like for you.
  6. Be ready to share anytime God tells you.
  7. Realize your decrease makes room for God’s supply.

 

Lazarus and the Rich Man


Today, I will continue writing about what I’m calling, “Jesus’ Perspective on Giving”. This series might better have been called, “Jesus’ Perspective on Living” because the focus is more on how we live.

In this series, we have looked at the story of the widow’s mite and the story of the Rich Young Ruler. This time, we will look at a parable. The parable is found in Luke, chapter 16.

This entire chapter centers around giving and managing resources. The chapter begins with the parable of the unjust steward. While not commending the actions of a wasteful steward, Jesus condemns the actions of the children of light by saying:

For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light. And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you (it) fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home.

This unjust steward had the sense to think ahead. Jesus commends this in him and says that His people are not always as good about thinking ahead as the children of darkness. To be generous with resources is a key to laying up treasures in heaven. God’s children should look ahead as the unjust steward did.

How we handle money and resources is an indicator of how we will handle spiritual responsibility.

He who is faithful in what is least (money) is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

The Pharisees loved money and derided Jesus over these teachings. How do you feel about them?
What is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

The parable of Lazarus, the beggar is set up by what we have just reviewed. 

This parable is pretty explicit in condemning greed and selfishness. We aren’t told much about the rich man; whether he went to synagogue or not. The lack of details are purposeful so that we will hone in on what we do know.

The rich man felt as if he was entitled to enjoy his wealth. After all, he earned it or maybe he said, “I’ve been blessed!” It is very interesting to me that the eternal destinies of the two men: the rich man and Lazarus are tied together. The only reason we are given by Jesus that the rich man went to hell is because he didn’t share his wealth.

Lazarus was in the rich man’s orbit. Lazarus’ predicament was obvious. He was sick due to malnutrition and exposure. We are not told anything about Lazarus’ spiritual condition. I believe that is purposeful. It is not our job to decide if the “Lazarus’” in our lives are worthy of help or not.

Just going out to speak to Lazarus about his soul and heaven was not enough. The rich man was expected to go and share practical expressions of love with Lazarus.

How can the love and care of God for the future be believed if it is not shared now in the face of real need?

Upon realizing his fate, the rich man asked Abraham to send Lazarus to his five brothers to speak to them about a change in lifestyle. Could I be the “Lazarus” sent to speak to you?

Abraham said:

They have the Word of God. Let them hear it and obey.

The sobering reality is that the rich man went to hell for doing nothing more (that we know of) than being selfish and greedy with his money and resources.

If this doesn’t shake us out of our complacency and deception, I don’t know what will!

Notice what the book of James has to say about this same issue:

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days.

After a warning against unjust, greedy dealings, James goes on to say:

You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter.

This is a direct condemnation of greedy hoarding.

If these passages are to be believed, then the hoarded riches we leave behind upon our death will actually be a witness against our love and liberality, not evidence of our spirituality!

Beware of those who teach contrary to the full counsel of God.

If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.

But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Is Lazarus sitting outside your gate? Find him and minister to him!

 

Myths About Money


Last time we were together, I wrote about “Jesus’ Perspective on Giving”. I want to continue for a few more blogs in an attempt to bring biblical balance to what is often taught regarding a Christian way of living and a Christian way of giving. This time, I want to look at “The Rich Young Ruler”.

This account is recorded in all three synoptic gospels; Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Luke’s gospel is the only one in which this man is identified as a “ruler”.

Let’s go through this interaction between Jesus, the rich man, and Jesus’ disciples to see if we can learn more about Jesus’ perspective on giving and living.

Notice some things about this interaction.

First, the rich ruler wanted assurance of his salvation. The ruler’s approach to salvation was all wrong but that’s for another blog. When he asked Jesus what he should do to inherit eternal life, Jesus response was: Keep the commandments.

The rich ruler’s response to Jesus’ direction was simple:

I have kept all these things from my youth.

Now, Jesus didn’t rebuke the ruler as a hypocrite. He didn’t tell him that he was a law breaker, did He?

So, maybe we are dealing with a man who kept the commandments of God. We would call him a true Christian!

While Jesus did not rebuke him for hypocrisy, He did say to him:

One thing you lack…

Now, if salvation was a “balancing act” and life was a test to do more good than evil, this man would have been ok. But, Jesus saw idolatry in his heart – yes, the heart of an otherwise good man!

What did Jesus see?

The deceitfulness of riches!

The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. Matthew 13:22

What is the deceitfulness of wealth?

Good question, and if we are going to be free from its clutches, we must dispel some myths about money.

  1. Money is neither good nor bad; it is neutral: it all depends upon how it is used.

If this is true, why did Jesus use the term, “unrighteous mammon” (Luke 16:9)? I didn’t pull the term, “deceitfulness of wealth” out of the air; Jesus coined that term!

When teaching upon this subject, Warren Wiersbe in his book, The Integrity Crisis said:

Jesus seems to be saying that wealth is defiling and deceitful of itself, and that only God can sanctify it for noble use.

Could this be another reason for the tithe? The tithe didn’t just belong to God but it sanctified the rest of what the Israelite possessed. So, if the rich ruler kept all the commandments, he must have also kept the one to tithe as well. But, money has a “voice”. Have you ever heard it tell you, “Hold on to me! Don’t let me go!” Most people have heard money speak.

Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless. Ecclesiastes 5:10.

Here’s where the second myth about money comes in:

  1. Money can’t satisfy you or make you happy.

The truth is that millions of people are happy and satisfied because of what money can do. Some aren’t wealthy by American standards but they’re comfortable and enjoying life. The problem with money is not that it doesn’t satisfy but that it does.

We must never allow God’s gifts to take the place of God!

The rich ruler apparently had done that, even if he was unaware! Jesus’ remedy was simple:

Sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.

Notice in this instance, Jesus said to take up THE cross, not YOUR cross. The taking up of Jesus’ cross includes giving up all idols and the understanding that everything we have is His.

Remember Jesus’ commentary to the disciples about what happened with the rich ruler:

How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!

Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

The disciples were greatly astonished at this teaching! Are you greatly astonished at it?

Peter said to Jesus, “We have left all to follow You”.

Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the GOSPELS, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.

But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

Have you left the love of money for the love of the gospel? Have you taken up THE CROSS and followed Christ? Are you using what God has given you to advance the gospel and minister to those in need?