Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.
Sunday’s can give Christians a bad reputation. Why do I say that? Well drive by a church sometime during their worship services. Sometimes the nicest cars in town are sitting in the church parking lots. Now there is not anything wrong with that, God does bless us and we are allowed to spend it, but here me out. Another reason has to do with restaurants on Sunday. Church goers are known as especially poor tippers. Now I do not think it lies within the people of the church, but waiters and waitresses know who has gone to church on Sunday and who has not and then they see the tip left behind.
Now the reason I mention both of these things stems from some of the passages in Proverbs 14. Re-read some of these verses … “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God” … “He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy.” Now before I said there is nothing wrong with having a nice car, or working hard and having a good retirement fund. That is wonderful. However, let me ask you this, are you sharing the blessings of God with those who are in need?
Now I am not talking about people who are unwilling to help themselves. Paul writes in 2 Thessalonians … “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” But how do you do with helping those in need. That is why Christians can get a poor reputation. If the parking lot is full on Sunday morning with expensive cars, but that church is not pouring love out into the community, the reputation is tarnished. If a family walks into a restaurant after church dressed in their Sunday best and leave a measly tip no message of love is being shared with the waiter or waitress.
We have been called to be generous and helpful to the needy. We have been called to share the love and grace of Christ. We have been called to be the hands and feet of Christ here on this earth. How are we doing at that? Maybe you are not finically well off and you struggle to scrape by, how do you show love and compassion on those who have hit rock bottom? Do you do well at being generous to those in need? If not, why not?
You are correct my wise friend. God did not give us financial blessings for us to bless our "selves". He gives blessings to bless others.
One other thing, I do not believe retirements savings are biblical, or retirement for that matter, or life insurance. I just cannot find this in God's word without some serious stretching.
While I agree you cannot find those things in Scripture, can we find anything against it?
I think it is similar to the way God set up leadership in the church. He gave us the basic "offices," and even the qualifications, but left little in the way it should be administered. I think he left us some freedom in how to oversee the church.
I think savings, retirement and even life insurance, while not Biblical is not unbiblical. I think they are part of our current society that is neither good nor evil. We have some freedom to exist in society and the way it functions. Our culture is so different than the culture of the first century, and even the Hebrew world before it. It would be nice that if a husban died his church would cover for the wife and children, but with the cost of today's world, church and people just can't afford that.
I would say co-signing, loans, and things like that are more unbiblical than things like retirement. While I agree that retirment should not just be sitting around doing nothing, some of the greatest workers in the church are those who are retired; they don't have work commitments and a need to make a living to take them away from helping further God's kingdom.
Very interesting point, I always love the comments you make on the blog. Thank you.
from Greg: Anytime you say soap box I must read.
I believe He gave us the best administration ever, Follow Him. He spent most of the Gospels teaching His deciples how to be a leader. A lot of which, was telling them what not to do. Referring to the pharisees and leaders of the jews. The washing of the disciples feet was the best lesson. He turned their world (and ours)upside down.
In the first century church people were totally dependent on God. They died to them 'selves', they were birthed into a different kingdom, the Kingdom of God, no longer belonging the the other kingdom. (baptism, death and resurrected).
That Community life no longer exists in our church. If my brother is losing his house and I have a retirement fund. Do I take the money out and give to my brother in Christ? Jesus says yes, everything, all of it. We say that is irresponsible. It is not about being able to afford it, it is about serving, trusting and obeying (again upside down). I guess the best way to explain it is we no longer exist in this society (world). We are aliens and strangers.
Remember the rich young ruler? He had great wealth. Most likely, if he was a ruler, he was a priest. A wealthy preacher, who the Lord told to sell everything and give the money to the poor, then follow Me.
Jesus teaching on retirement:
16And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.'
18"Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." '
20"But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'
Remember the old widow woman gave a penny, but she gave all she had, everything.
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