|Volume 17 Number 8 August 2015||
Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6 NASU).
That last part of verse 5, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” is well known, but what is entailed in trusting in this promise? Well, entailed in it is how we view money.
According to Dave Ramsey, the number one cause of divorce is “money fights and money problems.” He also says that the Bible has over 800 Scriptures about money. It sounds like we are not doing well at heeding the teaching. Money issues is one of those things that most easily causes people to lose trust in God, as if the sign that God is with us is having financial security. The reality is, Scripture shows that there are those who suffered financial hardship because they trusted in God.
In the text under consideration, the one who “is free from the love of money” is the one who will trust in God’s promise to not leave us. This person “will not be afraid.” Yet, money issues seem to too easily make us afraid (I said us, including myself). Those Hebrews were experiencing persecution, which commonly resulted in being burdened financially. When this happened, it was not a sign that God had left. In fact, in the situation of suffering for the sake of righteousness, the financial burden came because they were close to God. People far from God will never reach the point of suffering due to persecution. Paul learned contentment in times of plenty and want (Philippians 4:10-13). Why does it seem that many Christians’ trust in God is dependent upon material circumstances? If that is the case with us, can we really say we trust God?
It needs to be recognized that brothers and sisters bearing financial burdens are to be helped by the church. It could be that some suffer unnecessarily because the church is failing in its duty. However, it should also be recognized that bearing such burdens does not mean God has departed. It is true that many are in financial binds because of irresponsibility with money. Still, others have just fallen upon hard times. How do we respond during these times? The church needs to respond by helping those in need, and as Christians in need, we should respond in trust to God. We will not figure out trusting God until we put money in its proper perspective.
What about My Rights?
Adam B. Cozort
American society has become obsessed with the idea of “rights.” Everybody is always talking about his or her right to this or that. We hear of everything from human rights to animal rights, the right to health care to the right to broadband Internet access. We talk about our “rights” in such broad terms that most people do not even know what the word means anymore, much less the far greater underlying admission of such a declaration.
Consider the meaning of the word “right.” If you were to look in a recent edition of Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, you would find 62 different definitions for the word. Some of them are old definitions not commonly used today; some are specific to certain fields of study or practice. However, in our discussion, the 20th of these definitions is the pertinent one; there the term is defined as, “that which is due to anyone by just claim, legal guarantees, moral principles, etc.” The definition continues with the example of freedom of speech in America being a right. A right is something that is due someone, something they are owed for any number of reasons.
When most people talk about a right, they mean that they are owed or deserve whatever is under discussion because of whom and what they are. However, have you ever considered the declaration that is being made with such an argument?
On one hand, we are being taught and force-fed the idea that there is no God, and that we are simply the product of billions of years of evolution. As such, there are no moral or ethical standards to be upheld; mankind, as simply another animal, is left to his own devices to decide and determine what is right and wrong respecting the guidelines of the species.
On the other hand, the same people will then argue for their rights of freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and their rights to pursue any lifestyle, philosophy and course of action they desire. Nevertheless, something is missing: If all they are is another form of animal, then they have no rights! A right is something that is due, owed or deserved; yet, as nothing more than an animal, one would not deserve any more than they could take or another chose to give him. The “rights” of this country would be nothing more than the thoughts and ideals of other men, and therefore, they can be removed at any time, by anyone who exerts the power and authority to do so. If evolution were true, I would have no rights; there would be no standard of right and wrong, good or evil. Then, all the “rights” in the world would be nothing but the useless prattle of previous generations and controlling interests that have no bearing on the direction taken from this day forward. Laws would be meaningless, and the only thing that would matter is who has the power to dictate his will upon others.
Yet, if there is a God, and He is greater than me, with full authority and power, and He has made available to man certain rights, privileges and a standard of law and righteousness, then by what means can I argue that He does not exist? I could ignore Him, as men did in the days of the judges when every man did what was right to him (Judges 17:6); I could show disrespect for Him as the Israelites did on the numerous occasions that they went after other gods. However, I could never deny Him because without Him I have no rights, no guarantees, no protection, no guidance and no hope. Give thanks to God that this nation was founded upon principles of belief in God and the recognition of His Word. It is that foundation that has made this nation so much better than most in the world for the last 229 years.
So the next time someone comes up to you declaring their rights, thank them for the admission of Divine authority. Then, show them what else that authority means for his or her life.