Over the past weeks, I have spent a lot of time thinking about money, beliefs and actions. Much of this was spurred by some coaching and heart work that I was doing writing in my journal, getting a clearer view of the life that I want to live and the calling that I have.
In the midst of all this, my twitter feed popped up this post:
“there are 3 types of money in Panama: old money (from grandparents), corrupt (politicians and friends) and dirty (drugs, weapons, laundering, etc.)”
Over the past week, I have written about this topic from the life/coaching angle and my thoughts about my “money mindset”, as well as a deep look at Panama’s money stories. And as I learn to live in the present and Presence, I challenged myself to look more deeply at my beliefs surrounding money, prosperity and my beliefs in God. This stems in part from Matthew 19:
23 And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I say to you, 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.”
And the other part stems from this article that I read when I was researching “carpetbaggers”! This topic seems to pop up everywhere now that I have been looking for it.
We read in Nehemiah 5 about the usury and dishonesty of fellow Jews when the exiled returned from Babylon:
1 Now [they] raised a great outcry against their fellow Jews. 2 … “We … are numerous; in order for us to eat and stay alive, we must get grain.” 3 Others were saying, “We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our homes to get grain during the famine.”
4 Still others were saying, “We have had to borrow money to pay the king’s tax on our fields and vineyards. 5 Although we are of the same flesh and blood as our fellow Jews and though our children are as good as theirs, yet we have to subject our sons and daughters to slavery. … we are powerless, because our fields and our vineyards belong to others.”
10 I and my brothers … are also lending the people money and grain. But let us stop charging interest! 11 Give back … their fields, vineyards, olive groves and houses, and also the interest you ….”
12 “We will give it back,” they said. “And we will not demand anything more from them. We will do as you say.”
Now, if the Jews of that time had been following the law, they would not have charged any interest at all (Exodus 22:25) –
If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not treat it like a business deal; charge no interest.
That’s what they eventually agreed to do in Nehemiah, but only after the poor cried out against the way they were being taken advantage of!
So, what does the Bible have to say about being “rich” or “having money” or “having possessions”? There are so many verses, some of which seem a little contradictory.
- Deuteronomy 8:18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
- Deuteronomy 28:12 The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.
- Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart
- Proverbs 3:9 Honour the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops.
- Proverbs 3:27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.
- Proverbs 10:4 Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.
- Proverbs 13:11 Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.
- Proverbs 14:23 All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.
- Proverbs 21:20 The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.
- Proverbs 22:1 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.
- Proverbs 22:9 The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.
- Proverbs 27:23 Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds.
- Ecclesiastes 5:10 Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.
- Ecclesiastes 7:12 Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: Wisdom preserves those who have it.
- Malachi 3:10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouses, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this (says the Lord Almighty) and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.
- Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
- Matthew 5:42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.
- 2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything; you may have an abundance for every good deed
- 1 Timothy 6:10 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.
- 1 Timothy 6: 17-18 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.
- James 5:1-6 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.
What I found REALLY fascinating about ALL of these pages and sites that discuss Bible verses and money is that NONE of the mention a single verse from the book of Job! I even specifically looked up “Bible Job money”, and I either got specific verses from Job about money or I got a slew of verses from the Bible about money, but not one of them mentions the book of Job! There are verses about getting a job. There are verses about money. But all the lists of verses seem to specifically exclude Job and his money and riches!
So, what are my conclusions from all of this?
- No one wants to use the story of Job to explain anything about earthly riches. What is everyone so scared of?
That’s not really my conclusion -it was just a question. My real thoughts were these:
- If you want to get rich, do it honestly – swindled money dwindles fast!
- Don’t mistreat and oppress the poor, just because you can – God hears their cries and wealth is truly meaningless.
- The ability to produce wealth is also a gift from God.
- Don’t get all puffed up, thinking you did it all by yourself, remember that it is God that provides us with everything.
- Pay your tithes, remember that the first-fruits belong to God.
- Be diligent – laziness does not work.
- Stop talking, and get working.
- From what you have, give generously to others. Do not hold back from giving to those in need.
- “Be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share”
- Wisdom is a greater shelter than wealth.
And I think that all of this can get summed up in this final thought:
What is in your heart?
What are you worshiping: your wealth itself or the Divine Source of your wealth?
At the end of the day, as we learn to live in Presence and appreciate Divine Source in our lives, we learn to be grateful for everything that we are given and to know that it is enough. When we focus on our calling, rather than trying to create security for ourselves, we realise how perfectly blessed we are and everything that we have. Then we do what we are supposed to be doing, for the right reason and reaping the blessings from that purpose!
Resting in the presence of Spirit, we know where we need to focus our actions and energies to have the greatest lasting result and legacy on earth. The wealth or possessions along the way are simply blessings that we can share generously with others. We are promised many such blessings along the way. But they are the icing on the cake.
Our hearts are filled when we focus on living that life full of Love and Spirit. The Kingdom of Heaven is truly near to us when we are living that calling and passion!