12 “So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.” ~ Job 42:12
From the beginning of the Bible to the end there is one form of compensation which is better than the other. The lessons we are taught in church point to God being all that we need. But the fact that we live in a human – man-made world where nothing is free seems to fly in the face of this biblical teaching that compensation is worthless if it is given to you here on earth. We struggle with this misnomer and many cannot reconcile which to go after. The moral question or better put “dilemma” is made even more profound when we see churches handing their collection plates out for your money calling it tithing, but could this also be seen as pandering? If mortal money wasn’t what we needed then why do churches prize it so? These and many more questions linger in the back of many people’s heads, but the ones who become confused and disenchanted with religion is our children. They hear us grownups say, “You can’t take it with you when you die.”, but yet we work for it everyday, we can’t live without it, and if we tried society would curse us as if we had the plague. Yet after everything there can be found in the Bible itself such verses as these which talk about earthly compensation. God allowed Satan to test Job’s faith in God and the first test Satan gave was that of attacking Job’s money. Money after all is viewed to be very desirable if you don’t have it, but Job had it in abundance. Job had more than anyone else and because of this his status in his community was very high. But take his money, his friends faded away, take his family he is seen as cursed even unto his wife, give him a couple of diseases and he is left for dead. Did Job complain? Yes as a matter of fact he did. But did he lose faith in God? No. Job did not ever lose faith in God. So, can we pull from this a lesson about wealth and earthly compensation that could answer the dilemma of why people view money as being so important even though we can’t take it with us when we die?
Jesus Said to Give Away Your Wealth
25 “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?” ~ Luke 9:25
Going off this principle teaching that we cannot take our money with us when we die, many rich people donate their earthly wealth to non-profit organizations which they hold in high esteem instead of passing it down to their surviving relatives. On T.V. we see law suit after law suit of disgruntled family members who fight over their loved ones wealth often times destroying family ties over something that quit frankly is not as important as that of family. In a way people sell their souls for money in a way Job never did. In this we cast ourselves away to money and lose family where is the good in that? Finding a better perspective Jesus taught that we should give our wealth away as we cannot serve two masters, it comes down to the brass tax; serve money or serve God. This message is stark in contrast to the dilemma mentioned above until you get to the question, “If I give away everything then how am I going to live? How am I going to buy my food and support my family?” To this Jesus also had a teaching…
Don’t Worry – Be Happy
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~ Matthew 6:25-34
So, money looses value after reading this, if you believe in what Jesus said in Matthew. Jesus acknowledges that we need food, drink, clothing, and a certain amount of money in our life which is required to live. He acknowledges that we need to work for these things but in doing so our focus should be on the kingdom of God and in doing so we will be rewarded with everything we could ever need both here on earth and in heaven. This promise is both daunting and is rife with fear. Why? Because we are being told that though God knows we need money we should not seek it out as the end all of end alls because God is the Alfa and Omega. He alone knows how many hairs you have on your head, He alone knows your needs and with faith you are compensated for your faith. Wow! Replacing the word rewarded with that of compensated we have a whole new meaning to the passage found in Job 42:12. Job was compensated for his losses, rewarded for his faith in God and given more than what he had before. If Job was the only example of this in the Bible on its own is a very strong argument for the truth on Jesus’s words found in Matthew 6:25-34, but there are thousand of such examples of God rewarding or compensating people for their loses. In fact Jesus was raised from the dead by God as a reward or compensation for His faith and doing the will of God here on earth. I for one have to say God has never let me down when I have needed him the most. I may not have gotten all I wanted but God has always given to me what I needed. When we begin to live our lives in this manner money really loses it luster as it becomes nothing more than just a tool no different from that of a shovel or plow. However, that doesn’t mean Satan isn’t there tempting us to look away from God even if for a moment. In fact it is because Satan is ever-present flashing money and things in our faces we have such troubles in the first place. Which should we hold most dear, money or God? What really makes me shake my head at this temptation is that so many people fall into it knowing the teachings of God. Knowing what happened to Satan and knowing that his punishment is eternal for ever and ever. Why listen to Satan? That is my question to you my brothers and sisters when all we need is God.
Work and Rewards
4 “Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.” ~ Proverbs 10:4
The idea of working for your money also can be confusing if all we are to do is to trust and believe in God and He will provide. This notion I have heard from my students over and over though they may not have stated it so bluntly. No where in the Bible does it say to not work, rather the opposite message is given time after time. God wants us not to be ideal because the scripture found in proverbs is so true, if we work then we make something of ourselves and bring in a livelihood for ourselves and family. But when we do nothing then we give ourselves and all those whom we love to poverty. This idea is best represented in the following passage…
27 “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop; idle lips are his mouthpiece. 28 An evil man sows strife; gossip separates the best of friends. 29 Wickedness loves company—and leads others into sin.” ~ Proverbs 16:27-29
Therefore, to those who employ you God also see’s and hears their heart. For the Lord commands there to be struck an even balance of both pay and fairness in the work place…
9 “And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.” ~ Ephesians 6:9
4 “Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.” ~ Colossians 4:1
28 “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” ~ Galatians 3:28
We are all one in Christ Jesus. Simple and straight forward and to the point. There is no slave or master in the eyes of God because in actuality we are all employed by God in heaven and thus, as a child of God we are commanded to treat each other fairly and justly. We are in a sense commanded to work so that we are not ideal and do not invite evil, but yet we are not to strive for the sake of money because we cannot serve two masters. In the end Evil is wrapped in the things of this earth and everything of the earth will pass away and we cannot take our belongings and prized possessions with us when we die. It seems to me to be rather clear on what God wants and expects and if we follow this edict then we, like Job will be given everything we need.
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THE PILGRIM SHEPARD