Money is a Test

Whatever you have, God has given it to test your loyalty, allegiance, and heart. Judas’ soul was cramped and traitorous; money revealed that. Joseph’s soul was generous and loyal; money revealed that too. And “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

The following is an excerpt from James McDonald’s “Found a Faithful Steward” blog from June 23, 2014. It hit home with me because it started at basics and progressed beyond to some things we don’t often consider in how we think about and use our money.

Jesus said,
“For where your treasure is,
there your heart will be also”
Matthew 6:21

Money is a test of your:

Work ethic: While not universal, generally speaking, if your wallet is empty, you ought to look closely at your work ethic. How hard do you work? How diligently did you work, save, and invest in your twenties and thirties? The test of money hints at the longitudinal arc of your work ethic.

Self-control: You’ll never experience financial victory until you spend less than you make. Some people spend more than they make for years or decades. They’re failing the test, which often leads to financial bondage, tension, and misery in their homes.

Integrity: How did you get what you have? Did you cut corners or twist the truth to win a deal? Withhold taxes? Neglect tithing? Jesus taught, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17). The money test demonstrates your integrity—or lack therof.

Love for people: When you’re able to meet someone else’s financial need, do you? Can you recall people you’ve helped? Perhaps no one knows. Perhaps you didn’t get a tax deduction. You simply helped and loved others. If so, you’re passing the test.

Love for God: Jesus said more about money than He said about heaven and hell combined. Not because it’s the most important subject, but because until God gets hold of people’s finances, He doesn’t truly have their hearts.

Whatever you have, God has given it to test your loyalty, allegiance, and heart. Judas’ soul was cramped and traitorous; money revealed that. Joseph’s soul was generous and loyal; money revealed that too. And “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Found a Faithful Steward, James McDonald

 

Is this the ultimate Christian love song?

Ever since I made a concerted effort to explore the Christian music scene, and discover the “good music” that I knew was out there, I’ve been aware of the controversy of Christian love songs. Controversy? Yes, in between the awkward attempts and lame lyrics, there were a number of good sounding attempts (for their time), but I found, like many, they played on sophomoric sleight of hand with ‘God is my girlfriend’ lyrics. There are Christian songs that appear to easily swap out “Jesus” for “girl”, and vice versa, without harming the content in anyway. And if the lyrics stand on their own, some are so ambiguous as to cast doubt on who exactly is the subject of the love. Astoundingly, for a faith that holds love as the highest ethic and motive, there are woefully few good Christian love songs. Now, however, I think I’ve found a truly exemplary one: And, if you’re reading a blog like this, I’m sure you’ve heard it and probably already love it, too.

Continue reading “Is this the ultimate Christian love song?”

Did Jesus wrongly kill the fig tree?

I came across Mark 11:13-14 in my reading today,

Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.

My immediate thought was something bordering on fear because I applied the passage to myself – I must always be in season! I must always be baring fruit! God can come back and any time and what if I’m not helping build the Kingdom at that exact moment!

Now, all that is true in some regard. We are to be about the Master’s business and we are to be watchful for His return, which could be at any time. But what about sleep? Rest? Time to eat? Time for relationships? Time for fun? Time for reading? Time for education and learning? All of these could be considered taking away from the ideally direct tasks of the Great Commission, but, really? Withering a fig tree because it didn’t bare fruit out of season? Something doesn’t sound right to our sense of fairness and justice…

So, I did what I always do when I have questions about the bible: I googled it. After a quick (five second) google I found tektonics.org, which I respect. I  read their article about the same passage, Did Jesus wrongly kill the fig tree? And it seems there is a much more immediate meaning to the passage. Give it a read, here’s an excerpt:

A common explanation that the fig tree in question had not produced the “pre-figs” (somewhat edible, very young figs) that it should have borne along with the leaves. Hence, it was barren and useless – and thus became a prophetic symbol and an object lesson: That which does not produce fruit will be cut down – just like a weed.

This is correct, but incomplete. Throughout the OT, and in the NT, the fig tree as a symbol is tied in with expectation — and withering is tied in with judgment…

Give it a read, and then pause, and calmly think on it.

Selah.