Tuesday 29 October 2019

The Rules of Good Stewardship - Rule # 1 - Buy Friendship

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Preparing Us For the Kingdom of God

The rules of good stewardship are what our Lord had appointed pastors of God's Church to teach and to apply, 
(Eccl 12:9-12). These same rules will be applied in His Kingdom to come.

Rule # 1 - Buy Friendship

“ And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous [a] mammon, that when [b] you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home” Luke 16:9

a.         Luke 16:9 Lit., in Aram., wealth
b.         Luke 16:9 NU it fails

Special note: In the New King James that I use, The Open Bible by Thomas Nelson, Inc, is full of special footnotes to further give a correct interpretation. In the New King James, it stipulates: “that when you fail” the “you” should be “it” instead and should be read “that when it fails”. The Greek version is DκλίπD, 3rd Person Singular; in English, it is translated, as ‘it’ fails.

The everlasting home is the Kingdom of God. Remember when we pray, “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” God’s kingdom is in heaven and we pray for its establishment here on earth. When would that be? It is will happen only when Jesus returns to claim His kingdom which was lost to Satan when Adam disobeyed.  When does the mammon fail? It is when you die. You cannot bring your wealth with you in your grave. If you do, it will be either stolen or rot as the Pharaoh's treasures were sought and plundered, and the looters witnessed many rotted artifacts (Matt 6:19)

Jesus instructs us to use anything and everything that belongs to us to make friends, not necessarily with money alone. Mammon, worldly wealth, is whatever belongs to you, therefore, share it, and give it away. Make friends with it. Yes, Jesus is saying that you can buy friendship. Satan twisted this principle, making it a vulgar, mockery comment as of sucking up to someone, ingratiating (brown-nose).  Consequently, if you listen to Satan’s twisted principle, you will be accused of currying favour, hence the fear of being accused of fawning will cause you to have second thoughts before sharing your wealth. You hear it all the time… ‘‘he/she must be up to something, or ‘What do he/she want in exchange’. Jesus has one condition that applies to this rule - you are to expect nothing in return and/or to receive no favour of any kind for this act of kindness. Let Jesus explain it further:

“But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.  And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.  And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.  But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil,” Luke 6:32-35

Applying this rule of good stewardship is the enemy of financial institutions. This rule had as much impact on the local economy as on the Jews’ years of jubilee that occurred every 50 years where all debts were forgiven - when slaves were freed and lost properties were reinstated.

Jesus is very specific; give and lend to your enemies, the ones that you do not love much and dislike. Give, and lend without interest to those people that we view as not friendly. They are the ones that we look at with prejudice. In our outward appearance, we act as if we have no prejudice, but in our hearts and minds, we do. It is easy to give to our children when they need our help, but more difficult to those whom we dislike, (Luke 11:11-13). Our tongue and action gave us away.

“Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away,” Matt 5:42

I am appalled when I see Christian parents refusing to financially help their adult children in need and vice-versa and yet give tithe and generous offerings to the church ministry. So many Christians are holding on to their wealth with dear life. Why? Is it simply because we do not trust God and do not take Jesus' words seriously? Have we forgotten that the gold and the silver belong to God, (Haggai 2:8)? Let us be honest with ourselves. We don’t trust God to take care of our needs. We don’t trust God’s instructions. We teach our children to share their toys with others but we don’t set the example.

“Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” 1 Tim 6:18-19 (Treasures in heaven)

Remember the foundation built by Jesus in (1 Cor 3:9-14), and in (1 Tim 6). Paul is giving instructions on how to build on it. Let us admit our weakness for not trusting God. Keep reading (Proverbs 3:5-6) until you get it. To grow in faith is a path of trials and errors of trusting in God. Do you get it?  The main message from God and theme throughout the Bible is “Believe in Me, Trust Me” The greatest difficulty man and woman have faced throughout history described in the scriptures is to believe in God and to trust Him. From Adam and Eve to Revelation, the Bible points out man’s struggle in believing and trusting God.  It does not only imply believing in His existence, but it also implies believing in His instructions. The Bible gave many examples of those who chose to believe and to trust in The Living God, such as Enoch, Noah, Job, Joshua, Caleb, Moses, Abraham, David, Esther, Ruth, Rahab the harlot, (Joshua 6:23), Mary Joseph’s wife, and lest we forget, the church in Philadelphia, considered to be the Faithful Church.

No matter what the condition and circumstances we find ourselves in, rich or poor, whatever the level of education and even our citizenship and nationality, God instructs us to believe in Him and to trust Him. His instruction to good stewardship. He teaches us to share our wealth, no matter how small or how big that might be. Again, let me remind you that I am not promoting socialism. Socialism is based on humanist values of taking through taxation your money to distribute wealth in a sociality that rejects God. God's rules of good stewardship put the responsibility on each individual to apply God’s instruction and not to the nation.

We have a lot to learn from the past. God instructs Isaiah to reprimand His people Israel who were given more importance in the act of fasting than in the act of sharing their wealth:

“Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?  Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ “If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday.” Isaiah 58:6-10

Christians, do you get the point?

“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble and to keep oneself unspotted from the world,” James 1:27.

"You shall love your neighbour as yourself," Leviticus 19:18.
"Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being," 1 Cor 10:24.

“And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Mark 12:33

We act like Christians by going to church and by giving tithing. Many wouldn’t give if it wouldn’t be tax-exempt. Aren’t we giving expecting something in return, (Mal 3:10)?  Moreover, we do not apply Jesus teaching by not looking after each other. In (Isaiah 58), fasting was viewed by God as a religious ritual with no substance, bearing no fruit.  Isn’t fasting to be seen only by God? Isn’t tithing viewed also as a religious ritual, isn’t giving to be seen by God only?

“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly,” Matt 6:16-18

God views today’s doctrine of tithing in the same deceptive category as fasting. We miss the boat altogether. The doctrine of tithing to sustain a building and the salary of a captain, a pastor, a minister, and a priest is not ordained by Jesus. It takes away your autonomy to gain rewards by giving to those who are in need, especially to the needs of your immediate family, your children, your father and mother, your relatives who are in need, aunts and uncles in need, your close Christians friends, orphans, widows and anyone else who need assistance.

“But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever,” 1 Timothy 5:8

What about our children? The need for our children is not about spoiling them with toys, and giving whatever their hearts desire. It is sad to see a parent surrendering to a temper tantrum for a child's wishes. It is time that parents teach these same rules of stewardship to their children. Prepare them for an adult life of responsibility as God is preparing us to reign with Him. 

 The Church is inasmuch in a sad spiritual state as Israel was in Egypt.  Once freed from slavery and from the influence of the Egyptian gods and principalities, in the wilderness, God taught them the way and the truth preparing them for their inheritance in the promised land. God’s plan is to deliver us the Church from slavery, (1 Thess 4:16-17). Believe it or not, this present world is Egypt (spiritual Babylon) worldwide. There is an event called the rapture, where Jesus will come and take us out of Egypt but this time the Church will not be taken into the wilderness since the wilderness was Israel's consequence for their disobedience of refusing to enter the promised land. 

The Church will be taken to heaven and be taught for seven years the truth about God’s stewardship, preparing us to reign with Jesus at the end of the 7 years of tribulation on earth. 

Take notice that when Israel’s children were in Egypt, the wrath of God came toward the nation of Egypt before their deliverance and never became the greatest nation ever after. As for the Church, the wrath of God comes after our deliverance, the rapture.  At the judgement seat following the rapture, each Christian will give an account of their stewardship on earth. That will determine what position of governance they will receive in the Kingdom of God. The whole truth will also be revealed the principalities of governing God's kingdom. Since God instructed Moses His principalities to prepare Israel before entering the promised land, Jesus will instruct the Church before entering His kingdom on earth.


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