Features, Inspirational

The Uncomfortable Truth of Christianity

J.C. Riley
Inspiration By New Creation Ministry — By J.C. Riley

I recently heard an influential pastor tell his congregation that God wanted him to be rich. He then asked the congregation to declare aloud in unison ‘God wants me to be rich!’ as though it was a promise to be claimed by each of his members. The cooperative participation from the audience led me to consider one of the issues that continues to plague mainstream Christianity, myself included. We yearn for the gift more than the gift-giver. To use the platform of a Christian church to present as gospel truth that God wants us to be rich in this world is grossly misleading. Do I want to be rich? Well, sort of. I like the idea of being able to afford whatever I desire when I desire it. But when I consider the responsibilities of managing riches and the negative affects they can have on personal relationships, I begin to think again.

Are Riches and Wealth Evil?

First, let me make my stance on this subject clear: I do think that one can be a spirit filled follower of Jesus the Christ and possess wealth. On the other hand, I know that a person can live in poverty and be a top agent for the devil. With that said, riches don’t make us evil and living from hand to mouth doesn’t make us holy. A verse that is oftentimes misquoted (omitting “the love of”) is from Paul who communicated: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6:10. There is something destructive that takes place when an intelligent, relational creature such as ourselves, makes an inanimate object such as money their sole focus. To love something that is incapable of loving you back is telling of the deplorable condition of sin. If you are blessed to be rich, glorify God with your riches! If you are blessed to have just enough for today, glorify God with what you have! But do not believe the lie that God’s desire beyond making you whole is to make you rich.

My second and final point that I want to speak on is the need to tame our appetite for more. Solomon realized and wrote in Ecclesiastes 1:8 that “The eye is not satisfied with seeing nor or the ear filled with hearing.” We each wrestle between two opposing prayers/desires: ‘not my will by Yours be done’ and ‘not Your will but mines be done.’ In our hearts we desire more than we need and far more than we can handle. In Jesus’ instructions on prayer He taught His followers to pray: “Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11. Although He was referring to physical food, I think there is an application for us in other areas. For example, we can pray ‘Give us enough knowledge for today, comfort for today, encouragement for today’, etc. For today makes it clear that we will be content but having our needs met in the moment and trust God with the future. It’s when we get lost in worrying about the future that we lose sight of the sufficiency of God. Yet, we seem to constantly desire more. The question was asked to the Israelites: “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy?” Isaiah 55:2. We don’t usually want more of what is good for us but more of what is not. There are some things we will have to say “no” to in this life. Indeed, there are some desires that would weaken our witness and even turn us away from God if we were to realize them.

In conclusion, Jesus from Nazareth was not like some executives who offer a generous payout up front with hidden strings attached. Oh no! Jesus explained to His followers: “If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!” Matthew 10:25. And “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. He also told them: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24. We can live with contented hearts because He who gave all for us has become our all and in Him we are rich in love, grace and mercy. Be steadfast and keep looking towards “… the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Hebrews 11:6.

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