What is the most important thing to learn if you want to get rich? You need to learn to give. That may sound like a contradiction but it is based on some Biblical rules that apply universally. Many of the rules in life and society really have nothing to do with religion. They apply equally to the religious and non-religious. Many Christians will argue with me on this. However in the course of my sixty-five + years of life I have found it to be true. God does not discriminate. Some people will not give credit to God when good things happen. Just as many Christians blame every bad thing that happens on the devil. The Bible states very clearly that the rain falls on the just and unjust alike. It is the same for all other things that happen in the course of life. There is a verse in Proverbs that says it better than I can. "There are those that scatter, and yet increase: and there are those that withhold more than is necessary, but end up poor." So it is not about how much you give, but how you give. The next verse sort of explains it, "The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that waters shall be watered himself." That verse implies that the secret to getting, is giving. Yes I have seen wealthy misers who give nothing to others and hoard everything they can get. From my experience over the course of my like I have seen that most of those people are very miserable people. If they are happy they are so wrapped up in their wealth that they miss out on the real joys of life. Joy is not about and does not come from things, or having things. They might argue with you or me, but they usually have very shallow lives and associate with equally shallow people. They miss the real meaning of life. Life is to be enjoyed and shared. At least that is my view of life. Everyone is entitled to his own views.
In the book of II Chronicles it says, "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro though out the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him." What is a perfect heart. It is lined out and explained in the Bible we do not have to figure it all out ourselves. That is what is neat about the Bible. It explains itself to those who are willing to take the time to study it. The more you study the more you learn. The more you learn the easier it is to live a life that is blessed by God. What does God require of man to get along and be blessed in life. " He hath showed you what is good and what the Lord requires of you, To do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God.? What is religion and how is it defined I think James says it best, "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. It seems from reading the Bible that God places a premium on helping the poor and needy. He has judged nations for it and destroyed them. Most people think that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for homosexuality. It may have played into the decision to get rid of them but the Book of Ezekiel says there were other reasons for their destruction. The following reasons were given in plain language.
"Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. 50And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good." Not trying to be judgmental, but that sure sounds like a pretty fair description of America today. If I were being judgmental God's views on abortion and killing children is far harsher than the judgment he declares here. In Ezekiel God was judging Israel yet he claimed they were like there sister Sodom. Isn't America like Israel's sister as we protect her.
The point here is not about judgment, but about why and how we treat the poor. It clearly shows that there are consequences for not looking out for those who are less fortunate. While the opening line of the Constitution says its goal is to provide for the welfare of the nation. Yet in this day an age welfare has become a curse word and being poor is something to be looked down upon. My goal is not to turn this into a Bible study or a commentary on religion. It is too show that there are writings that explain the proper attitude towards wealth. The first quote I gave explained that there are those who go through life scattering their wealth and obviously not saving for their future. However it says in the end that they gather where they have not sown any seed. Very simply they are blessed. Some blessings have nothing to do with money. Good health and a happy family are not determined by money. Money can help make life easier, but good relationships make It far more enjoyable. Most people notice and like people that always have a smile on their face and a good attitude. They are easy to be around and make those around them feel better because they share their joy.
Getting back on track the book of Haggai gives a very good description of how many Americans live today. "Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earns wages earns wages to put them into a bag with holes." In other words you work your tail off and have nothing to show for it. The question is, Why? Is it fair to work hard and have nothing to show for it. Just because you do not share what you have is it fair for you to suffer. The real question is how can you fix the problem. Can it be fixed. I will assure you it can be fixed. At one point in life I lost all I had earned and was a very bitter person. Finally I decided to give God a chance in my life. At the time I had nothing, but an old Bible that was given to me when I was a teenager. I started reading the Bible and had a enough knowledge that I understood you were to give 10% of all you got to God. Being shrewd I made a deal with God. I promised to give him 10% of my time reading the Bible and that I would share what I got as a blessing from it. That is half of why I am writing this. I know it works.
Every Sunday when I go to church I see people who are making the effort to go to church but not trusting God to help them. They put a $1 in the collection plate. If they have a minimum wage job they make about $280 a week. So 10% would be about $28. Some say I only take home about $230 or so. That is fine. Just give God a chance. You might start by thanking him that you even have a job. I mean really you are already getting $280 gross income off the dollar. Most will say, but I can not afford to do that. I do not have enough to get by as it is. Maybe you ought to challenge God by trying it for awhile and seeing what happens in your life. God invites you to do it. I invite you to read the following quote from Malachai,
"7Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? 8Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.
God says to give him what you owe him. Read the highlighted and underlined verses and see that God clearly challenges you. He says he will open the windows of heaven and poor out a blessing that you will not have room enough to receive it. That is a pretty incredible offer. Just remember the blessings may not be in the form of money. Someone may be healed. The opportunity for a better job, a better house or a better car may all of a sudden materialize. Those are blessings but they are not in the form of dollars and sense. My challenge to you is to go even farther. As you see things start to happen step out in faith and give more. Give time to help friends build a home, work in a soup kitchen, or whatever you feel called to do. Just remember you can not out give God no matter how hard you try. I could turn this into a mega blog if I told of the things I have seen and experienced with my own eyes. I have already told you in one of the previous blogs to get out of debt and work for yourself if possible. In the verse after God promises to open the windows of heaven he even promises to protect the things you put forth to grow. That includes good works.
A preacher I used to listen to said, " If God knows he can get from you, he will get it to you." So few people are willing to help others that God is looking for people to bless. There is a man who owns a company that makes big earth moving equipment and he gives 90% of the profit from his company to helping others and the church. His view is very simple. "If God can live on 10%, so can I" and he has for years. When you look at big corporations, and many Americans hate them, realize they are growing on Biblical principals even if they are not a Biblical based or owned and operated company. I will leave this with one final but fairly long quote from the Bible. Read it, take it to heart and you will understand how God operates and how giving becomes a blessing in your life.
The Book of Isaiah says, "Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? 7Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
8Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. 9Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; 10And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: 11And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. 12And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.
13If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: 14Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
That is a long quote but the last few words say it all. "I the Lord have spoken." Most of the verses are the very ideals America was founded upon. It is the core values of America. However, In this day and age America has slid away from following those principles. In closing I will make one more challenge to you to prove that America is or was a blessed nation and that we are sliding away from God's Grace and need to turn back toward our roots and the principles this nations was founded on. Those are the principles that made this nation great. I invite you to read the 28th Chapter of Deuteronomy which discusses the blessings and curses God puts on those that follow him and those that do not. This nation is sliding steadily towards the don't side and eventually it will pay the price Sodom paid. This is not my judgment. It is simply God said it, God will do it.