Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Our Whole Livelihood?

“So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”” (Mark 12:43-44 NKJV)
What the Lord says about Money
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV)
This verse tends to bother me as I was educated as a CPA.  We plan ahead, we budget, we believe in preparing for retirement.  In general we believe in giving the Lord his 10 percent, either based on gross income or net income or after tax income, depending on who teaches you. We believe in spending less than you earn and laying up something for a rainy day.  Of course if one plans for a rainy day, a rainy day usually comes.  We don’t teach that we should give the Lord all that we have at any point in time.  And actually the Lord didn’t teach that.  He just commended a poor widow who loved her God enough to do that.  She obviously had her treasure in heaven.
Paul encouraged the Corinthians to finish taking up a collection for the poor in Jerusalem by saying:  “For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have. For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality. As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”” (2 Corinthians 8:12-15 NKJV)
Basically, if I understand Paul correctly, he is saying our giving to the poor should not make them richer than us or us poorer than them but we should try to establish equality.  Equality is a bad word, it almost reeks of socialism.  Of course the secular government is not legislating this, but our heavenly King is saying that this is the way it should be.  He isn’t saying that we must do this, but He is saying that we should do this from a willing mind.  
Paul reminds us that the “love of money” is the root of all kinds of evil in 1 Timothy 6:10.  I have not taken the financial planning course that most Christians are utilizing today because I doubt that I would be disciplined enough to do what they ask us to do.  But I suspect that not one of those courses asks us to contribute all of our living to the worship of the Lord. I suspect all of those courses talk about saving and budgeting and giving the ten percent.  Every Christian will say that is how to be a good steward.  They will also say that everything that they own is the Lord’s.  Yet I have noticed that most things that we own are parked in our garages and our money market accounts are in our names–not the Lords.  
I don’t think the Lord necessarily condemns wealth but he condemns those who make money their purpose in life.  It is hard for a rich man to enter heaven.  I know rich people who have been a great blessing to the work of the Lord.  Some of them have been a real blessing to me and my family.  I don’t know how others look at giving, but I have to admit that the way I was educated and the way the Lord wants me to act seems to be at odds with each other.  I have given a lot to the Lord, but I have never given all.  
Faith produces Good Works
I know that good works never produced faith, but faith always produces good works.  I know that our faith can be small (that is, it is only able to believe elementary principles and act on them) and I know our faith can be great (that is we can believe in the “mountain moving” kind of promises and we can act on them).  I am the little faith kind of guy.  Barnabas in Acts 4 was a great faith kind of guy. 
I believe God when He says that Christ died for my sins.  No problem.  But I am not so sure that I can be a Barnabas who sold land and gave all the proceeds to the Christians.  Nor can I be like a widow who gave her whole living.  May the Lord help us to believe in God’s promises with regard to salvation, but may He also help us to believe in his promises when it comes to how focused we are on “making money” and “getting ahead.”  The world knows about these promises even if they don’t practice them and they watch those of us who claim to be Christians to see if we are being faithful to the Lord.
Giving ALL?  What foolishness!  Except it isn’t!
Bruce Collins
Meditation for the week of December 6, 2020

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