Copyright 1994 - 2020 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
March 26, 2020
Last Updated :
April 10, 2020
Harsh Extreme Comment By A Fellow Christian, There Is A Big Difference Between Using Money And Serving Money, Building Bigger Barns, Trust God For Your Daily Needs And Seek First Kingdom Of God, Treasures Upon Earth Or Treasures In Heaven, Love Of Money Is The Root Of All Evil, Jesus And The Apostles Emphasized Sin Of Avarice And Not Actually Using Money As A Medium Of Exchange, Abraham Purchase Cave Of Machpelah From Ephron The Hittite, Parable Of The Widow's Mite, Parable Of The Talents, Jesus Commended Wise Servants, Jesus Paid Roman Tax, First Century Christians Used Money To Meet Their Daily Needs, Using Money Is A Necessity Of Modern Life, God Doesn't Usually Drop Money Or Other Needs From The Sky, God Decides How To Provide Our Needs, Robin Hood And Spoiling Egyptians, Secular Jobs And Government Benefits, We Must Be Practical And Pragmatic, Financial Hardships Due To COVID-19 Pandemic, Government Assistance Programs, Being Critical Of Christians Who Accept Financial Aid Is Not Helpful, Using Money Doesn't Mean We're Serving Money Or That Money Is Our God Or That We Have Sold Our Souls To Satan, Expense Of Running A Ministry, Is It Really A Sin To Expect Government Financial Assistance?
Yesterday afternoon while scrolling through my Facebook news feed, I came upon the following post which was made by one of my well-meaning Facebook friends. As you continue reading this series, I believe that you will come to understand why I felt compelled, and deemed it important to challenge this person regarding the contents of this meme. That is, if you don't immediately recognize what the problem is just from reading the following statement:
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"Stop looking for financial breaks and stimulus's from the government. Your God can't be money AND the Lord. Many will fall in line with the beast system because they serve money and not Almighty God. Look to your brethren in Christ. We are to help one another. Trust the Lord."
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Now, based on this person's apparent theological perspective regarding Bible prophecy -- I am given the impression they are a Futurist due to their mention of "the beast system" -- I can understand why they might be motivated to make such a strong statement. However, in my view, considering the hard times that so many people around the world are experiencing right now due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, I feel that their words are too harsh, and too much to the extreme. Allow me to clarify what I mean by this.
First of all, it should be obvious to anyone who reads the previous quote, that this person is basically saying that if you seek any kind of financial relief from the government due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, you have automatically made money your god, instead of the Lord. A bit extreme, right? It needs to be pointed out that there is a very big difference between USING money as a necessity in this current life, and truly SERVING money, striving to obtain as much of it as we possibly can by whatever means we can, and in effect making it our god. That appears to be the mistake that the foolish, materialistic man made in the Gospel of Luke. As you can see below, he was totally given over to acquiring more wealth; so much so, that he barely had room for it all, and thus he chose to build even bigger barns:
"And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment."
Luke 12:16-23, KJV
In contrast to this rather selfish mode of living, the Lord then gave His listeners the following wise advice, in which He not only admonished them to trust their Heavenly Father for their daily needs, but to also seek heavenly riches in their lives instead, by seeking first the Kingdom of God, as we see by these verses:
"Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Luke 12:24-34, KJV
In the Gospel of Matthew, as well as in the Gospels of Mark and John, the Lord likewise warns us of the foolishness and vanity of striving to increase our material wealth upon this Earth -- which will all eventually perish, or which we will lose once we die anyway -- while we neglect the true riches which are to be gained in Heaven. Consider the following set of verses:
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also . . . No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon . . . But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
Matthew 6:19-21, 24, 33, KJV
"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
Mark 8:36-37, KJV
"Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed."
John 6:27, KJV
Jesus was not alone in warning about the vanity of storing up treasures on this Earth. Other authors of the Scriptures shared the very same thought. Consider these verses as well:
"And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."
Job 1:21, KJV
"As he came forth of his mother's womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand."
Ecclesiastes 5:15, KJV
"While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:18, KJV
"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."
Philippians 4:11, KJV
"Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."
Colossians 3:2, KJV
"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Hebrews 13:5, KJV
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."
1 John 2:15-17, KJV
Likewise, in his first Epistle to Timothy, the Apostle Paul writes "For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out." But what I also want to emphasize in the verses below is that Paul very pointedly says that it is actually the LOVE of money which is the root of all evil. Sadly, there are so many Christians who either misquote, or misinterpret -- some intentionally while others perhaps unknowingly -- what Paul wrote. In other words, they will say that "money is the root of all evil", when in fact, Paul said "the love of money is the root of all evil. There is a difference. When he talks about the love of money, Paul is obviously referring to the act of making acquiring vast wealth the primary purpose of one's existence, above and beyond everything else in our lives. Consider what he said:
"But 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 raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
1 Timothy 6:6-10, KJV
The previous verses are just a few examples which are found in the Holy Scriptures. You will find many more Scriptural examples in the Bible study references which I include at the end of this series. Clearly then, the sin which both Jesus and the Apostles repeatedly expose in the Gospels and in the Epistles is AVARICE -- that is, extreme greed for wealth or material gain -- and not necessarily the general use of money to conduct our daily lives, and to meet our basic needs. To reiterate, they condemned making a god out of money, wealth and materialism, and not the specific practice of using money as a convenient medium of exchange. I hope you can see that.
If you stop to think about it, there are so many examples in the Scriptures where we see money being used as a medium of exchange. One example which comes to mind is the Patriarch Abraham. Did he not purchase a plot of land -- the cave of Machpelah -- from Ephron, the son of Zohar, to be used as his family's burial site? Consider the conversation that occurred between Abraham and the Hittites; that is, the sons of Heth:
"And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying, I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight. And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him, Hear us, my lord: thou art a mighty prince among us: in the choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead; none of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre, but that thou mayest bury thy dead. And Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth. And he communed with them, saying, If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and intreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, That he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for as much money as it is worth he shall give it me for a possession of a buryingplace amongst you. And Ephron dwelt among the children of Heth: and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even of all that went in at the gate of his city, saying, Nay, my lord, hear me: the field give I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it thee; in the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee: bury thy dead. And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land. And he spake unto Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, But if thou wilt give it, I pray thee, hear me: I will give thee money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there. And Ephron answered Abraham, saying unto him, My lord, hearken unto me: the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver; what is that betwixt me and thee? bury therefore thy dead. And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant. And the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure Unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city. And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan. And the field, and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto Abraham for a possession of a buryingplace by the sons of Heth."
Genesis 23:3-20, KJV
As some of you may know, even certain temple offerings were also made with money. Perhaps you will recall the Parable which Jesus told regarding the widow's mite, which you will find in the Gospel of Mark chapter twelve, and in the Gospel of Luke chapter twenty. Consider this group of verses:
"And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living."
Mark 12:42-44, KJV
I am likewise reminded of the Parable of the Talents in which the Lord actually commended two of the servants who invested their talents wisely. Here it is for your consideration:
"For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lords money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Matthew 25:14-30, KJV
Now, for those Christian extremists who claim to have such an aversion to using money, consider that in the Gospel of Matthew, we discover that if for no other reason than to not cause offense, the Lord did not hesitate to pay the required Roman tax, as we can easily determine by the following group of verses:
"And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee."
Matthew 17:24-27, KJV
Moving on, we discover in the Book of the Acts that the First Century Apostles and Disciples likewise used money in order to meet their daily needs. How else could they survive in the Roman-ruled world? For example, in the following set of verses, we see how the new Disciples sold their lands and other possessions, and then brought the money from the sale of their lands and goods to the Apostles, which would then be dispersed according to the need:
"Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet."
Acts 4:34-37, KJV
The previous groups of verses are just a few examples of the many financial transactions which we find mentioned in both the Old and the New Testaments of the Holy Bible. No doubt you will think of many more. What these examples demonstrate is that money is not evil in and of itself. It is actually an unhealthy desire for extreme amounts of money which is evil in God's eyes. It is the sin of avarice.
Having now established that important point, the next point I want to make is that while we Christians are not OF this world -- as Jesus prayed in John chapter seventeen -- the fact remains that we are still IN this world. And because we live in and exist in the present world, by necessity, we are forced to use money as a medium in the exchange of goods and services, whether we like it or not. It's just that simple. There is no way around it. No matter who you are, or where you live, or what your social status is, in some way you have to interact with money, usually on a daily basis.
Let's be honest here. Unless one has tremendous, unswerving faith, God is not just going to drop food, clothing, rent money, utility money, medical expense money, etc., from the sky. Yes, He promises to provide all of our needs. But to my knowledge, unlike modern drone services, sky drops are not usually our Heavenly Father's method of delivery. Now, I am not saying that God cannot occasionally provide our needs by way of seemingly miraculous means. Perhaps other Christians, or family members, or even good neighbors or strangers see you are struggling financially, and decide to help you out. Or maybe an unexpected check suddenly arrives in the mail.
The point is, it is not for us to determine what methods God must use to provide our needs. He does as He pleases. Do any of us think that we know better than our Heavenly Father? If God could use the Egyptians to provide the needs of over one million Israelites before they fled out of Egypt; and if He could use three rich Magi from the land of the Chaldees to provide for Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus, He can use anybody. So, yes, in my opinion, God can use the secular government of your nation to help you through the rough phases of your life, such as during the current coronavirus pandemic. Who knows what method He may use; but He will make certain that you are provided for, if you are seeking first His Kingdom.
While this may surprise some of my readers, it may interest you to know that when it comes to His children who He loves, God does not mind playing the role of Robin Hood. In short, He will take from the rich and give to the poor. He will rob Peter to pay Paul, if it suits His divine purposes. If you doubt that this is so, then consider the following verses:
"And I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty: But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians."
Exodus 3:21-22, KJV
"A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just."
Proverbs 13:22, KJV
As you can see, the Lord told the Israelites that they were going to "spoil the Egyptians". But exactly what does that mean? Personally, I think the verses are self-explanatory. But just to prove my point, that word "spoil" is translated from the Hebrew word "natsal". One of its meanings is to snatch away, strip away or to plunder; and that is exactly what the Israelites did. Thus, as King Solomon writes in the Book of Proverbs, "the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just." Wow! Now what do you think of that? Are you still feeling guilty or condemned because you accept assistance of some kind from your government?
Now, as I said a moment ago, while God can indeed provide our needs in sometimes miraculous ways if He so chooses, in the majority of cases, having our daily needs met is usually in some way associated with money. For most Christians, this means spending a large part of our lives working at a job. Of course, if you happen to be an elderly person who is now retired, perhaps you have made some investments in the past and are now surviving day-to-day from that. Others receive pensions, Social Security Disability, retirement benefits, or else they have other money streams. So while Christians do indeed need to be spiritual and Heaven-minded, precisely as Jesus and the Apostles taught, at the same time, as long as we are in this present life, we likewise need to be both practical and pragmatic as well.
As we all know, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, and the global economic downturn which has resulted in so many businesses either temporarily or even permanently shuttering their doors, and probably engaging in large-scale layoffs, many people around the world are now experiencing hardships which they have never experienced before. This situation is further complicated through social distancing and enforced quarantine, which has made everyone's life more difficult. This is particularly true in a financial sense. Yet despite how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting us all, we still have to do what we have to do. We still have to live, feed ourselves and our families, pay our utility bills, pay the rent, etc. We can't just ignore these things. So what are we supposed to do given these circumstances?
Contrary to what seems to be indicated by the aforementioned person, it is my opinion that if we are entitled to receive money -- or any other type of assistance -- from our national, provincial or state government, wouldn't it be rather foolish of us to just turn it down? Would any of us really choose to suffer, or to even cause other family members to suffer, due to our pride? I certainly hope not. The truth is that it can be humbling to have to go to a public government office and apply for some type of public assistance. Why? Because by so doing, we are admitting that we can't make ends meet and that we need help. Some people are so self-confident and so proud, that they do not like to do that. It is too embarrassing for them. But when your family is depending on you, what else can you do?
So taking into consideration the current situation in which many of us find ourselves, it is my opinion that coming down hard on people -- such as my Facebook friend appears to do in their post -- because they find themselves in a hard spot and need to accept financial aid from the government, really is not being helpful. In fact, the negative result of adopting such a harsh attitude may very well be that it will only make some of our Christian brethren feel condemned, and maybe even convince them that they have no faith in God, and that they are not truly serving Him. By saying harsh, I am referring to the fact that this person stated "Many will fall in line with the beast system because they serve money and not Almighty God". No wonder some people commented that they did not agree with what this person had said. What a horrible way to make people feel, simply because they need help and are willing to accept assistance from the government!
So because a number of other people were also taken back by what the aforementioned person had stated, I am certain that I did not simply misinterpret their words. All of us felt as if that person was chiding us, simply because we see nothing wrong with people accepting financial assistance from the government so that they can make it through the difficult times many of us are currently facing due to the coronavirus pandemic. To be clear, accepting such money does not mean that we don't love God. Neither does it mean that we have made money our god. It most certainly does not mean that we have sold our souls to the Devil, or to "the beast system", as this person referred to it.
So I am sorry, but what they wrote just isn't right. As we have already seen from the Scriptures, just because we use money does NOT mean that we serve money. Neither does the fact that we use money in our daily lives mean that we are not serving God, or that we lack faith. So their statement is really off-base. One thing I know for certain is that ministries such as this one require literally thousands of dollars to keep them operating over the years. It takes a lot of money to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this fashion. Many people have been blessed, inspired, motivated and convicted by the Bill's Bible Basics ministry. Am I to now believe that I do not truly serve the Lord, that I only serve money, or that money is my true god, simply because I receive retirement benefits? Hardly, my friends.
Well, after reading the aforementioned post, I offered that person a response in which I shared with them some of the points I have included in this same series. As I mentioned previously, other people apparently agreed with what I had stated. Thus, they liked my comments. About six hours later, this person responded with the following remark:
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"Does my post say anything about using money or having it in general?"
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My friends, I'll let you be the judge. How do you understand "Stop looking for financial breaks and stimulus's from the government. Your God can't be money AND the Lord. Many will fall in line with the beast system because they serve money and not Almighty God."? Now doesn't that seem to imply that according to that person's way of thinking, we all have to make a choice between either accepting financial assistance from the government -- or "financial breaks and stimulus's" as they call it -- or else serving God? Do you see how black and white this person paints it? Even though I was sure that I understood what they meant, I again posted a response. Among other things, I asked them directly "Are you, or are you not, saying that we Christians should not accept money from the government?" Well, a short while later they posted a response in which they stated the following:
----- Begin Quote -----
"I did not say it was a sin or wrong to accept help if it is given. Rather, to expect and trust for the government to do so is."
----- End Quote -----
So with that comment, it seems to me that they are making it clear that they believe that it is wrong, and in fact a sin, for a Christian to expect or trust their government to offer them assistance. If you doubt that this is what they meant, then consider that in a later response to me, they also said that "expecting the government to give them financial help . . . is trusting in man and money and not in God." Stated another way, they seems to believe that doing this makes a god out of man, money and government; because according to them, we are trusting in such things, instead of in God. Obviously, this is the furthest thing from the truth. I really don't know how they came to that conclusion. But as I told them, it contradicts what we find in the Scriptures.
Please go to part two for the continuation of this series.
⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .