VIEWS: 109 PAGES: 89 CATEGORY: Self Improvement POSTED ON: 5/22/2010
An eye opening examination of the Christians dilemma, should I seek to be rich?
It’s Okay to be Rich! but Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God a Warren L. Adams Morgan James Publishing • New York It’s OK to be Rich but Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God © 2007 Warren L. Adams. All rights reserved. a No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmit- ted in any form or by any means, mechanical or electronic, including photocopying and recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from author or publisher (except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages and/or show brief video clips in a review). ISBN: 1-60037-059-4 (Paperback) Published by: Cover and Interior Design by: Michelle Radomski One to One Creative Services www.creativeones.net Morgan James Publishing, LLC 1225 Franklin Ave Ste 325 Garden City, NY 11530-1693 Toll Free 800-485-4943 +DEDICATION∂ Since Jesus established the church over two thousand years ago millions have been called to preach and teach God’s word. Many of them suffered in many ways. Whether it was persecution or prosecution, poverty or death, they stayed the course to fulfill their calling. For reasons unknown to me there has been a belief that preachers should not have many material things or the desire to have them. I have heard many stories about preachers who have gotten in trouble with the church over having or trying to have nice things. One preacher’s church became angry because his wife bought a grand piano with money her grandmother had left her. Another church was upset because the preacher bought an expensive car. One of my pastor friends had a lady in his church who wanted to sell him her house. She made it possible for him to purchase the house and one of the church members became incensed and told the preacher that it was not right for him to have a better house than his member’s. Just recently a pastor told me he was dismissed from the church because he was making money through a legitimate business on the Internet. I dedicate this book to the memory of these men and their families who sacrificed earthly riches for their heavenly reward. Also to those who are diligently preaching and spreading the Word today, I pray God’s blessing on you. May He bountifully bless you spiritually, physically and materially. Remember I Cor. 15:58: “ Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. I also want to thank God for my wonderful wife Gale. She has been my faithful, loving, and supportive help mate for almost 40 years. She has been my best friend and kept me on the right course in life. God has blessed my life through her. A special thanks to Alex Mandossian for his support of and encouragement given to this project. Most of all I want to dedicate this to my Lord Jesus Christ who made it possible for me to receive His saving grace. Who makes it possible for all who believe in His name and who will open their heart to Him, to be saved, for them to have the blessed assurance of an eternity in heaven, with Him.Who gives all the chance to seek His Kingdom and one day rule and reign with Him, when He returns in his glory. +TABLE OF CONTENTS∂ Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . III 1 Understanding Your Purpose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 2 Being Rich . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 3 The Kingdom of GOD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 4 Seeking the Kingdom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 5 Seeking Spiritual Riches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 6 Seeking Material Riches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 7 Seeking Physical Riches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 8 Fulfilling Your Purpose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 Epilogue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 A Special Thank You . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .73 I +FOREWORD∂ Warren Adams is an ordained minister and has been a bi- vocational preacher for over twenty years, serving three churches in Florida and Georgia. During that time he has managed a tree farm and been a salesman. His knowledge has been gained through various studies, but mostly by searching the Scriptures and letting Holy Spirit teach him. At the present time he teaches a ladies’ Sunday school class of about 30, holds a Bible study on Sunday night, and does supply preaching. He travels the Southeast selling tack for Weaver Leather, boots for Rios of Mercedes and Anderson Bean Boots. He sells other products for the Western market made by Double Diamond Halters, Geier Gloves, and K Bar J Leather. He resides with his wife of soon-to-be 40 years in Clarkesville, Georgia He has a desire for all Christians to live a truly Spirit-lead life. He has a desire for them to develop their god-given time, talents and money to serve God, to be used to reach the lost for the Lord Jesus Christ and meet the needs of others God puts in their path. For more information go to www.WarrenLAdams.com III +PREFACE∂ I, like many Christians, have struggled with the idea of being rich. I was taught to be rich or to want material wealth was wrong. The rich gained their wealth by being crooked, immoral, or taking advantage of others. Being wealthy was somehow going against God’s word. In other words, it was a sin to have or seek material gain. Approaching the age of retirement without the necessary funds to stop working, if so desired, I began to think about how to provide them. Knowing I needed to change me to change my situation, I started to read self-improvement and motivational books. One of the principles that was repeated over and over was, “If you want to be rich you have to believe it is ok to be rich.” Realizing there was a conflict in my thought processes and wanting to stay within the teachings of the Bible, I began to search the Scriptures about money and wealth. How could it be wrong to want to provide a secure monetary life for my wife and me? How could it be wrong to want to provide a trust fund for my grandchildren? How could it be wrong to be able to provide funds for missionary work? How could it be wrong to have the freedom to serve God when and where He required? How could it be wrong to want the time freedom to spend with family and friends? The results of my search I share with you. May God’s Holy Spirit confirm within you what is right and true. May God’s richest blessings be on you and all your endeavors. Yours in Christ, Warren Adams P.S. I’ll see you here, there or in the air! 1 I UNDERSTANDING YOUR PURPOSE What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? —Mark 8:36— How do you spend most of your waking hours? What are you trying to accomplish with these activities? Most people are trying to make money to support their family’s needs and wants. In the majority of homes today both the husband and the wife are working. Some individuals have more than one job just to make ends meet. Others have the desire to gain riches that would allow them to have financial freedom. Nothing is wrong with either endeavor but is that your true purpose in life? Jesus taught a parable about a rich man. The rich man had been very successful and filled his barns to overflowing. In thinking about what to do with his surplus he decided he would tear down the old barns and build new, bigger ones. With this done he could “eat drink and by merry.” But God said, “Thou fool this night your soul will be required of thee; then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” 2 It’s OK to be Rich but Seek Ye First the Kingdom of Heaven The next verse, Luke 12:21 says, “So is he that layeth up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” This life is temporary. Your goal should be to fulfill the purpose God has made you for in preparation for eternity. Whatever God’s plan for you might be, it not for this world only. Holy Spirit that abides in each Christian will reveal to you what it is you are to accomplish. This requires asking and listening to Him. He will never force you to any service. You must want to be obedient and follow His lead. You are instructed not to grieve Him. You are to yield yourself to Him so you can do the good works God has called you to. In so doing you are not only laying up treasure for yourself but also laying up treasure in heaven. The apostle Paul uses the example of the physical body to explain the spiritual body of Christ. Each Christian has a place and function in that body. For the body to function at its optimum all member of the body must be fulfilling the task it was created for. In the body of Christ some are called to serve and others are called to provide the resources for that service. How do you know which one you are? When you follow Holy Spirit’s wooing and listen to that still, small voice, you will begin to know what you are called to. Most of the time you will not want to go in that direction, or you will be unsure. But as you determine to be obedient and start to do what you think is right, God will open and close doors. Either you will be able to continue or things will come apart and you must reconsider you actions. Most questions about God’s will for your life are answered in the Bible. You are to love one another, keep His Commandments, Understanding Your Purpose 3 give, pray, and follow all the other instructions He has given you. Trying to answer the unknowns should be done with the spiritual application considered first. Why are you going to do this—for you or God? A test that has been used successfully to determine if you are in His will, is first it must be scriptural. God will never call you to a purpose that is contrary to his Word. If it is at odds with the Word it is not of God. Second, it must be possible. God is not going to call you to report as president of the United States next week. Third, what is in it for God? Your motive should be to bring glory to God and serve Him, not to fulfill some selfish desire or want. Last, you should have peace about it—peace that is deep and abiding that only God can give you. If you do not have that peace you should continue to search for His will. God is not a God of confusion. Where there is confusion and uncertainty you have not determined His will. Countless men and women have answered the call to make themselves available to meet the needs of others by giving of themselves. George Muller was one such person. During the 1800s he built orphanages in England for thousands of boys and girls. He built them and provided for the children through prayer and faith. Often prayers would not be answered until the last hour, but they were answered. Whether it was food and clothing for the children or money to build other orphanages, or money to meet his family’s needs, God provided. Muller was determined not to ask any man to provide for his needs but to tell God about them in prayer. God used men and women to deliver the goods. They often told Muller God had 4 It’s OK to be Rich but Seek Ye First the Kingdom of Heaven laid it on their hearts to give the offering they brought. God still needs both kinds those that will serve and those that will give. Mother Theresa, moved by the plight of the people in India, dedicated her life to meeting their needs. She started her own order and raised funds to carry out her mission. There are others—missionaries, preachers, doctors, care-givers—people we will never hear about who have answered the call to dedicate their lives to serve others. Today there are multitudes in the world standing in the need for people to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them. There are also an abundance of physical needs to be met. This has always been true and will be until Jesus is on his throne. Missionaries are called to serve and they must be funded in their work. Africa has tremendous problems. Numerous denominations and organizations like R.E.D. Ministries (www.redminstries.com) are reaching out to that continent but much more is required to meet the need. China, India, Russia, and the list goes on. Even in America there are fields “white onto harvest.” To meet these needs Christians will have to answer the call to go or provide the money and resources for others to go. You do not have to be super rich to help. It is said that twenty percent, in a church or any organization, do most of the work and provide most of the money. The excuse is often used “I will give when I have more.” God does not reward that kind of thinking. He holds you accountable for what you do with what you have. That includes your time and material blessings. You have to be willing to be used by God. Your Understanding Your Purpose 5 thinking should be spiritual and not selfish. Thinking, how can I serve God, and not what can God do for me? Begin today to be willing to give your tithe of money, time, and talents to help others. It is not how much you give but why and how you give. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to give abundantly and cheerfully? Stop reading and take time to consider where you are in your walk with God. Are you where you should be, spiritually? Do your plans put God first? Do you know what God’s purpose is for you life? Have you determined your talents? Have you prayerfully sought the answers to these questions? Use your journal, or some other way to capture your thoughts, as you answer these questions. Be honest: this is between you and God. You may fool yourself and others, but you certainly cannot fool him. Let Holy Spirit speak to you and lead you to the answers. When you have finished take time to ponder your response. On a scale from one to ten where are you? What will it take to get you to a ten? No one will be in His perfect will, but all should want to be. That requires knowing where you are, where you want to be, and having a plan to get there. Having a plan is the beginning; you have to put action to the plan to complete it. This is true in your spiritual life and your secular life. Your life and reason for being are unique. No one but you can do what you are called to do. If you do not answer the calling someone or something will go lacking. You have a responsibility to find your talents and then use them to accomplish your unique purpose. If you do not manifest your mission the world 6 It’s OK to be Rich but Seek Ye First the Kingdom of Heaven will not be as blessed as God wants it to be. Most of all you will miss out on the blessings and victories God has prepared for you. You will miss the rewards that are waiting for you in the coming kingdom. The truth is everyone will make a difference. Everyone has a center of influence. Your effect, whether good or bad, positive or negative, depends upon you. Romans chapter 12:1–2 instructs you to make your body a living sacrifice to God. Renewing your mind through the Word of God, so you will know what is His perfect will for your life. As you will see there is no doubt God wants to use you in a unique way. It is your task to find that place and bring it to fruition. The joy that comes when you know you are on the right path is like none other. Your purpose will eventually consume you. You will be compelled to accomplish it. Not for money or fame, although that might come, but because you know it is God’s will. Jesus said in Revelation 22:12, “I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” What will be your works? Will you strive to accomplish the works God wants or will you live your life for this world? What joy, excitement, contentment and rejoicing there will be when you hear Jesus say to you on that judgment day, “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.” Matthew 25:23 2 I BEING RICH Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God.” —Ecclesiastes 5:19— “What is rich? The old saying is “everything is relative.” To a small homeless child with no parents and no place to live, a person with a house and food to eat is rich. To a person with just a house and something to eat, someone with a house, job, car and other material things is rich. To that person a millionaire is rich. To a millionaire a multi-millionaire is rich. To a multi- millionaire a billionaire is rich. You may not think of yourself as rich but if you have a home, own a car, and have a job, you are materially rich. Compared to the rest of the world you are very rich. For most that is not enough. They desire to have all that the world has to offer. Most seek for the biggest home, best car, and money to burn. So as Christians what should be our approach to riches? There are many warnings in the Scriptures about riches. Beginning in Deuteronomy 8:11–14, the nation of Israel was 8 It’s OK to be Rich but Seek Ye First the Kingdom of Heaven warned not to get full and satisfied with silver and gold and forget what God did for them. Solomon, in the book of Ecclesiastes, laments about riches... how they do not satisfy; how they bring on problems. Jesus in Matthew teaches about the deceitfulness of riches. He also states “a rich man shall with difficulty enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:23–24. This eye of the needle is not a sewing needle that would make it impossible, as some think. Jesus is referring to a particular gate in the city’s wall that was left open at night but was very short and narrow, therefore making it very difficult for a camel to enter through it. In I Timothy 6:10, Paul writes, “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.” Herein we see the problem. The problem is not in the riches themselves; it is in your attitude toward them. Why do you desire riches? How much will it take to satisfy your desire? What are you willing to compromise for your desire? Will you get so busy seeking riches you forget God? Why do you desire riches? That should be your first ques- tion. Do you have a specific need or project you would like to fund or do you just want to have “things”? The compelling purpose that is going to encourage you to seek riches should be something God has laid on your heart. James warns you can “ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your own lusts.” Being Rich 9 Riches for riches’ sake can be detrimental to you. They or the pursuit of them can consume you. Thus you are of no use to God because you are too busy seeking to please yourself. You should desire riches to do God’s work. How much will it take to satisfy your desire? It has been established that riches are relative. What would be enough for you? The question was asked of a very rich man, “How much is enough?” His reply was, “Just one more dollar.” Money and material things do not satisfy. What was the last thing you just had to have and when you got it the possession was hollow? Solomon, thought to be the richest man to ever live, determined everything he had and every pleasure he was able to try, because he was rich, was “vanity of vanities.” Many people have ruined their lives in the pursuit of riches. They are willing to compromise the things they had learned from God’s Word to gain riches. If you are willing to cheat, steal, defraud others, or do anything illegal or immoral to gain riches you are on the wrong path. Remind yourself material things are temporal. They will pass away. You m
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