Devotional - The Biblical Money Code

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Jul 25, 2013.

  1. “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. - Matthew 25: 14 (NIV)

    It seems every day we see another snake oil salesman marketing the latest get rich scheme in the name of the Lord. Today's was emailed to me and it was entitled, "The Biblical Money Code." It seems a former pastor turned financial guru has claimed the great success he has in the financial markets is due entirely to his understanding of the secret codes found within the pages of the Bible which can release untold wealth to those who would apply them. I read his email and clicked on the link to watch the video he had put together. As with any well produced misuse of Scripture a lot sounded right. Sometimes i think we confuse ourselves into believing that a heretical teaching must be entirely heretical. Not so. The most insidious false teachings contain a little leaven surrounded by truth. So it was when the salesman came to using the Parable of the Talents to prop up his argument about investing that the leaven became more obvious.

    The pitch being made was that this parable was about money and investing. The point made here was that people who simply put their money in savings accounts are just as sinful as those who are reckless with their money. That God expects us to do something with the money He has "blessed" us with. Voila! The Parable of the Talents. It is true that a talent was a large portion of money. The story goes that a wealthy man embarks on a journey and leaves some of his money with three servants. One received five talents, another two, and the final servant received one, according to their abilities. When the master returns he finds the servant who was given five talents had earned five more and the servant who was given two talents had earned two more. The master said well done my good and faithful servant; you have been faithful in a few things so I will now put you in charge of many things and he doubled the amount of talents they had been given. Come and enter into your master's happiness. The salesman pauses here to emphasize that these servants were given "more wealth; more blessing." The story concludes with the final servant returning the one talent that had been entrusted to him. He had buried it in fear of the master. The master casts him aside and gives his one talent to the one who now had ten. Once again, the salesman emphasizes how wrong it is to not invest the money God has given you and if you just follow his "biblical" plan for investing, you too can have untold wealth.

    Except that is not what this parable is about beloved. Jesus spoke in parables to emphasize an overall point. They were not meant to be taken so literally. He used talents here because He knows how easily we would relate to money. The problem here of course is in poor hermeneutics. This is simply poor Bible interpretation. You cannot take one word, such as talent, and assume the entire passage is about money. Neither can you even look at one story in a vacuum. The first rule of all Biblical interpretation is context. The second rule my first Bible teacher would say is to re-read rule number one. The key verse today is the first line in the Parable of the Talents. What is the most important word from an interpretive standpoint? The word "again." This clearly implies that the Parable of the Talents is a continuation of a train of thought. That it must be preceded by something else that is similar, which can provide even deeper context. What precedes the Parable of the Talents? The Parable of the Ten Virgins. This story tells of ten virgins who went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were wise and brought extra oil for their lamps but five were foolish and did not. The bridegroom was a long time in coming and they drifted off to sleep. They were awoken by the impending arrival of the bridegroom but the five foolish virgins had their lamps go out and were forced to try and go buy some oil. While they were gone, the Bridegroom arrived and the door was shut to them. They tried to get in but the Lord said that He did not know who they were. The Parable concludes with the warning that we need to keep watch because we do not know the day or hour. So what does this parable have to do with money? About the same as the Parable of the Talents - nothing. In fact, strictly from a contextual standpoint we have not gone far enough back yet. Here is the start to the Parable of the Ten Virgins:

    “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. - Matthew 25: 1 (NIV)

    At that time? At what time? To find the true beginning of the context of the Parable of the Talents we must travel back to the start of the previous chapter. Jesus is talking to His disciples and is asked this question:

    As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” - Matthew 24: 3 (NIV)

    The remaining 48 verses in Chapter 24 deal with the signs of the end of the age. It deals with the second coming of Jesus Christ. Then to illustrate the points He was trying to make, He tells us two parables. The Parable of the Ten Virgins may seem more obvious. It is teaching us the necessity to be ready for the second coming. That we have to be prepared. On a deeper level, oil is a representation of the Holy Spirit and those without it will not be allowed in. This explains the admonition at the end about not knowing the day or hour. Because of the usage of talents, that parable might not be as obvious until you take it in the context in which it was written. God has entrusted us all with certain things. First He has entrusted us with salvation. We all know what God has done for us. That is the foundational talent if you will. That is the first bag of gold we receive. We are not supposed to bury this talent. Others may have been given more talents. More insight into the things of God. More giftings from the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we want to know why God has not given us a certain level of promotion or responsibility and He is still waiting for us to be faithful with what we have been given.

    Either way, this is not a story highlighting the appropriate usage of money. Contextually, it is part of a discussion on the second coming of Christ and what our responsibilities are until that coming. When the Master says well done and puts them in charge of even more that is not "more wealth; more blessing." It actually means more responsibility. The problem as with all wealth-focused programs is it is improperly focused on the things of this earth instead of eternal matters. The salesman tried valiantly to bring it back to the ability to bless others with your wealth but in the end it is still selling earthly prosperity by misusing Scriptures that are about eternal matters. These two chapters from Matthew are not about money. They are about salvation and being sure you are ready for when that trumpet sounds. There is however a Biblical Money Code. It is not vague. It does not need to be ripped out of context. It is quite clear:

    “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. - Matthew 6: 19-21 (NLT)

    “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. - Matthew 6: 24 (NLT)

    But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. - 1Timothy 6: 9-10 (NLT)

    Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” This amazed them. But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God. In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” - Mark 10: 23-25 (NLT)

    Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. - Matthew 6: 33 (NLT)

    Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” - Hebrews 13: 5 (NLT)

    Trust in your money and down you go!But the godly flourish like leaves in spring. - Proverbs 11: 28 (NLT)

    Trust in your money and down you go! The salesman wraps up his half hour video by offering you $556 in material for only $47! Order now! Well, let me say two more things. First of all, I am not commenting on the prowess of this man in the financial markets. Maybe he is as sharp as he says he is. Maybe his intentions are as altruistic as he claims. All I am saying is that the connection to the Bible is wrong. In his pitch, he keeps emphasizing how he went from earning $15,000 a year as a pastor to now earning so much he can give away $50,000 a year to the needy. The Biblical point however is which position would allow him to have a greater impact on the kingdom of God? Why is the focus solely on money, while he insists that he does not love money?

    The second point is in regards to money itself. Wealth in and of itself is not evil. The sad reality is that it often leads to evil. The love of wealth often prevents people from coming to God. The Lord knows what would happen if we did hit Lotto. There is a reason why we have not. Does God want us rich? Yes- spiritually! Does that mean He wants us poor materially? Not necessarily but if that is what it takes to keep us eternally then the answer is yes. Remember the rich young ruler was not instructed to give all of his money to the poor because Jesus shunned wealth but because the man placed it before God in his life.

    There is a Biblical Code for money but it doesn't sell very well on a half hour infomercial. The real code says to not store up treasures on this earth because our heart needs to be set on the eternal things of God. The code says we cannot serve two masters. We can use money but cannot allow money to use us. The code says that just craving money can lead us away from the true faith and pierce us with many sorrows. Don't believe it? Just look at how many hundreds of thousands of people pack into arenas every week to hear one snake oil salesman or another preach earthly prosperity to them. Turning God into a cosmic ATM. How many will be pierced with sorrows when they get to the last day and discover they never really knew God at all? How many have the lamp of church without the oil of the Holy Spirit like the five foolish virgins? Church is just an empty vessel without the power of God lighting it. The code says quite frankly that it is extremely difficult for a rich person to enter heaven! Not because of money but because of what money does to us. The code says to seek the Kingdom of God above everything and live righteously and God will take care of the rest. Maybe not in a yacht, but He will take care of the rest. The code says to be satisfied with what God has given us and that the Godly will flourish. Oh, there is a code.

    So do not fall for the snake oil salesmen. Do not fall for those who preach earthly prosperity to you. Preachers with diamond pinky rings who drive hundred thousand dollar cars. Pastors who travel between their mansions with the helicopter God told them to buy. Do not fall for the "seed" theology that perverts the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Do not be fooled by those who say that your blessings are tied to money. The God I serve isn't short of cash. Do not be fooled by charlatans who wrest Scripture out of it's intended context to convince you to give them money. Oh beloved there is a code but it has as much to do with acquiring money as the Parable of the Talents. Nothing. I will end this with the words from the Apostle Paul explaining the role of ministers of the new covenant:

    But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?You see, we are not like the many hucksters who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us. - 2Corinthians 2: 14-17 (NLT)

    We do not preach for personal profit! Amen and thank God for the real code!

    Reverend Anthony Wade - July 25, 2013
  2. This was great. I honestly don't know how people like this live with them self. Are they aware of what they are doing or have they seriously convinced them self that what they are saying is true? lol Either way it is pretty scary
    anthony wade likes this.
  3. Their are many who think they can claim Christ but not have a Christian work ethics, they have ethics of the world.
    anthony wade likes this.

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