On a political note, one can argue the merits of a "Robin Hood"-type of government that will "take" from the rich and "give" to the
poor, but in reality even the so-called poor in America are
wealthy by comparison with billions of others in countries around the
Nevertheless, our relativity in America allows us to compare
ourselves with our neighbor. We can look at our "things" and then
look at his "things" and compare what we have with what he has. So
we surmise that relative to others, we have less than some and more than
others. We argue regarding who is wealthy and who is not. Most
Americans can count themselves as "poor" when compared
giants like Bill Gates, George Soros or even a professional ballplayer with a
$100 million contract over four or five
years. But in reality, most Americans have enough. Not as much as
they want, but usually enough.
My dad used to tell me the story of Standard Oil baron John D.
Rockefeller, who would toss a dime to the paperboy on the street
and admonish him to "Save your dimes boy; they make dollars." For
sure, Mr. Rockefeller had plenty of dimes, and dollars too. But poor as we were when I was growing up — without a car, walking where
we went; grandmother, sister and I in the same bedroom of a
two-bedroom house, with mom, dad and sister in the second bedroom,
and brother on a cot in the dining room — as I remember, we
still had enough.
The historical Bible gives us a different vantage from our current
tax-and-overspend viewpoint. Solomon wrote in Proverbs:
"Honor the LORD with your possessions, and with the first fruits of
all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty and your
vats will overflow with new wine." — Proverbs 3:9-10 (NKJV)
When God breathed into Solomon's heart the inspiration to write
these words, the word "honor" was written. This is an imperative
that actually functions as a command. We can think of this not just
as words written by Solomon, but the very word of God that speaks to
us in the form of a command to honor the LORD.
Why would we want to honor God anyway? God is all-powerful,
all-loving and full of grace. The Bible records that God loves us so
much that He gave His one and only Son, Jesus, so that anyone who
believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life. (John
3:16) So our response to God's great love for us is that we honor
Him. Solomon said in Proverbs that one way we honor Him is with our
In our society, we have been taught that we give money when we "go to
church." For sure, a collection is taken and our local congregations
usually live according to some sort of budget so that property can
be maintained and bills can be paid. But when we are standing in the
full shadow of God's grace, we realize that everything we have,
including our own lives, belongs to God the Creator. To honor God
with our possessions is to take stock of everything we have and
consecrate it to God with His blessing and use it for our neighbor
(fellowman), and then give God all the glory and praise.
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It really does not stop with that either. When we work every day
or accumulate money or possessions as each month and year passes,
the process of yielding ourselves to God and honoring Him with our
possessions is a constant thing. Solomon used the word that is
translated "first fruits" as a means for informing us that giving
merely of our possessions is not enough; we are to honor God with
the "best" of what we have, our "first" earnings. We take from the
top of our possessions, not from what we have left over. By taking
the first part of all we have and giving it over to the honor of God
by helping others who are truly in need, we truly love our neighbors
as we love ourselves.
Now, as is usually the case, God gives us a command to honor Him
with the very best of our possessions, and with it comes a promise
that He will do something, too. In our society we grow callous with
so-called televangelists sometimes acting as carnival barkers trying
to lure us into sending them money to receive the blessings of God.
God calls us to a higher order, however. When God says to honor Him
with our possessions, it is not because he needs to add an addition
to His mansion in heaven or make another payment on a celestial
Rolls-Royce. It is because He wants us to yield to Him completely
and to willingly honor Him and worship Him so that He can bestow
upon us the richest blessings without measure. By yielding to Him
and allowing Him to work through us, He feeds the hungry world
through us; He lifts the downtrodden through us; He shares His love
for the lost through us.
There is something that I think the "religious" world does not
understand. That is that no amount of work we do will "earn" anything for
us from God. God has already given us everything we need, and in
Him, everything we desire. When we give our best possessions to
honor Him, we are allowing Him to work His power through us in such a
way as to redistribute the wealth to those who are in need.
God's promise to us is to replenish our wealth. When we yield
ourselves and our possessions to His honor, His miraculous power is
ignited and He regenerates our wealth, not for us to accumulate, but
to replenish so we can continue to give.
If our nation would turn to the command that God has given us to
honor Him with our possessions so they can be used by Him through us
to help those in need, there would never be any need for the
president or anyone else to establish policies or make speeches
about our need to "redistribute wealth in America."
[By JIM KILLEBREW]
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