On Being Broke…

Some time ago, a man came by my office at the church and asked if we could buy some gasoline for his car. I was inquisitive as to why a seemingly able-bodied man would need a church to buy his gasoline? Also, where did he need to go that was so urgent he would ask a church to finance his trip? He seemed a bit offended that I would ask him such things and more than a little bit impatient in giving me answers to the questions. Since he was from our local area, I asked him the name of his pastor, and for the life of him, he couldn’t think of his pastor’s name!

The Bible, to many people’s surprise, does not instruct a church to give benevolent help to everybody who comes along, as a matter of fact, it forbids it. The Bible gives some specific guidelines as to who a church is to help, and goes so far as to say that if one will not work, neither let him eat!

Granted, there are emergency situations that would be so severe that one might have to turn to a church for financial relief, but according to the Bible, family members have the first responsibility for providing such help.

It has been my experience that the far majority of people who come to the church for such help as food, gasoline, lodging, etc, either do not know the biblical principles of money management, or they are simply wilfully disobedient to them. Consider the following biblical principles concerning money management:

1. Work.

2. Trust God with what you already have.

I’ve never seen a tither at church asking for benevolent relief. In Psalm 37, David said, “I have been young, now I am old, and I have never seen the righteous forsaken or His seed begging bread.”

3. Use what you get in a God-honoring way.

Many of those with whom I have dealt in benevolence matters either have the strong smell of cigarettes or alcohol.

Being financially broke is oftentimes a symptom of a deeper problem, a problem of the heart. If this situation is to encounter a lasting change, it must begin in the heart of the individual. Proverbs 23:7 says “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Romans 12:1-2 teaches us that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. Our minds govern our decisions and actions. It is taking our stand on the word of God that will renew our minds for the greatest good.

Does everybody who trusts the Lord and lives in obedience to His word get rich? No, but their standard of living will go up. God may choose to give them riches, He can if He wants to. You can be sure that He is not going to bless the financial doings of the person who is constantly violating the teachings of His word, the Bible.

Is it possible to accumulate money without trusting the Lord and obeying His word? It sure is, but when that happens, all to often, that person’s money becomes an idol in his life. The “good life” is living in obedience to God, trusting Him in every area of our life.

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