You were born from your mother’s womb, possessing only those things that were necessary for life, for survival; you own nothing. Because of the love of your parents, you were then given those things that were needed to sustain and maintain your continual growth and existence; you own nothing. In the early years of your life, being a young child, you are still in the protective hands of those who love you and are responsible for your daily nurturing and protection, you are under the complete authority of those who provide for your daily care; you own nothing. As you continue to mature, you gain the knowledge to fend for yourself, to become more self-sustaining, to rely more upon your own ability and integrity. While you are now, indeed, able to depend more readily upon your own ability, you are still dependent upon those upon whom you rely for your daily necessities, food, clothes, a place to sleep, etc. Most of life is lived depending upon someone else for assistance. Parents are God’s gift to children, and without them, civilization would cease to exist. You do not have to be a person with glowing qualities to become a parent, but as a child, you must have a parent in order to exist. I do not at this time wish to expound upon the advantages of having a good parent but only wish to show a dependence upon them. If it were not for those who God has placed in our lives, we would surely find it more difficult, if not impossible, to survive. We gain insight into the working of society, good or bad, by the examples and teachings of our parents. The right of inheritance or to gain the wealth of our fathers can be a rewarding way of gaining possessions, but we did not gain that wealth by our own toil; it is a gift.
As you continue to grow, to become more self-sustaining in life, you gain the ability to work for those things known as material possessions, things you can consider as yours. As you become more productive, you are given the feeling of self-gratification; you no longer need any assistance, you can do it all on your own. But can you? We live, and then we die. Generation to generation, we continue to survive; but survival is gained, in a large sense, by the knowledge provided us by our forefathers. The knowledge of the past is not discarded but is used to build upon. Founding a better, more knowledgeable world would not be possible without building upon the successes and failures of the past. Life, from birth to death, is a continual moment of dependency, a continual time of looking for solutions, gaining and giving in an attempt to survive or to help others to endure. In essence, we are all interdependent; we need each other to survive. For someone to say, “This is mine. I own it,” he must first be able to prove that he was the total reason that it exists or that he, without any outside assistance, achieved its possession; that is to say, he created it. Everything that we own or have a potential of owning must first have been created by God. Ownership is an earthly term that suggests that we hold or retain the right to control or possess something that is of worldly value. If God is the creator of all things, wealth and the knowledge to gain that wealth, then everything belongs to Him, right? God is the granter of all wealth, He is the provider of all our necessities, and He is the giver of life. If God created everything and has given us the knowledge and ability to succeed, then who is the true holder of our possessions? Does this mean that ownership is not to be considered as absolute in the sense that it has been given by God, and we should appreciate and thank the one who has blessed us with our good fortune?
Without going a step farther, I do not wish to condone the act of theft or excuse its perpetration. Thou shalt not steal, Exodus 20:15 the 8th commandment was written not to fill space or to cause deception or doubt. Words issued from the mouth of God are given for our benefit and are to be taken seriously. Excusing the evil and the profane are only and attempt of justifying the irresponsible and the defiant and contain no true reason or validity. My only intent is to show that all we possess was given us through the generosity of a caring God, and to be found worthy, we should be thankful and reverent. To survive and to possess the ability to succeed, we need the cooperation of others. God, in His eternal wisdom, has set the standard (John 15:17). In His Word, He has told us to love one another. He has told us to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 19:19). This alone should govern the distribution of wealth. The love that we are to have for each other should manifest itself in our sharing and sacrifice. It is a command we must obey if we are to be considered true disciples of God. (John 3,34-35). If we are to honor and love a God who is all about giving, a God who has given everything for our salvation; then how could we not want to give as He has given? If we are to be truly successful, then we must be willing to do as we have been instructed. The accrual of wealth in and of itself is not the definition of success. Wealth is not to become our god, and to consider it of like value is to be foolish and ignorant of God’s truth. The wealth of this world was created for man’s survival. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth’” (Genesis 1:26). God, in His wisdom, has intended for man to pass His prosperity on from generation to generation. All worth has been determined by God, an He will consider who will be allowed to control it. How can we consider true ownership of anything that we cannot create and will not possess for eternity? If it is only ours while we live, and we will surely die, then are we not simply leasing or borrowing it while we are alive?
God has not given all individuals the same amount of worldly wealth, but He has given all the same opportunity to possess a brighter hope of a heavenly future. Knowing God and who He truly is, we can know that the wealth of this world is relatively insignificant when compared to an eternal future with Him. The amount of appreciation we show Him, and how we manage the wealth that God gives us, will be in direct correspondence to the amount we love and trust Him. God is not dead, nor will he ever cease to exist. In His sufficiency, He will nurture and care for His own. In His awesome power and adequacy, He will forever provide the needs of His children. To doubt God’s ability or intentions is a sin, and to refuse His protection is foolishness. To suggest that God will not or cannot maintain His creation unto the very end is heresy; and to state that we, as His children, can destroy His creation without His approval is hogwash. If we are not willing to give Him the honor or accept His ability as creator of all, we will not give Him the credibility to uphold and maintain His creation until the very end. An arrogant fool has said in his heart there is no God; that foolishness will be perpetuated until the very end when he will be cast into hell for his conceit and disbelief. To a fool, there is no heaven, but he will not escape the tortures of hell. As a fool, man struggles to hold on to his earthly treasures when the only treasures he can retain are the ones given him by trusting in a loving Savior. We must learn to respect all that God has given us, but first of all, we must honor the One and only giver of it all. We are to honor His creation and admire His handiwork, but God will not let His people destroy His world until He is ready for it to be destroyed. God owns it all; we, as His children, are only permitted to enjoy it. In the preceding paragraphs, I have tried to establish the fact that we, as God’s creation, own nothing that we can give to inherit eternal life, and we are all dependent upon His ardent love for our survival. Let me again make the following statement with this added explanation. In the act of redemption, all must be given; as Jesus gave His all, so must we who choose His salvation. Consider the word all. All includes everything that you consider valuable, even your life. You must be willing to give your all. How much do you really believe that you have to give up or lose? Have you ever heard the statement, “You can’t take it with you”? This statement alone suggests that we do not possess the right or privilege of absolute ownership. We are only allowed the opportunity of using the world’s wealth while we live here on earth. God’s Word aptly states that we brought nothing into this world, and we will take nothing out (1Timothy 6:7). At this point in my life, I have found this to be factual. I know of no one who has disproved this truth. If I do not spend my valuable time attempting to control and protect the wealth that I consider to be mine; I can then give that time back to the one that is truly in control of it all.
In so many instances, the amount you feel you are required to give up will determine your willingness to choose His way. When we consider the fact that we really have nothing to give, that those things we now possess are already His, then we will not be reluctant to choose His divine leadership for our lives. In essence, the only thing we really have to give and the only thing He really wants us to give is ourselves; the rest is already His. He has bought us with a tremendous price, willingly dying upon a cross; but He, in His constant love, has chosen to give us the right of choice. We can choose whether we want to follow Him and receive all of His blessings or refuse Him and lose all of his forgiveness. We can do however we so choose, but we must be willing to accept the consequences or the benefits of our actions. Man has indeed, been classified as a fool in many instances, but the refusal of God’s love and forgiveness is the supreme example. Why would you not choose to give up nothing, a few short years on this miserable planet, to gain everything, eternity in a place of supreme happiness called heaven? Words alone cannot make anyone a fool, but denying God’s eternal goodness will cause one to fail God’s divine expectation.
The possession of wealth can be somewhat confusing or misleading in many ways. This question for thought has been given. Would you rather be given a million dollars to do with as you please, or would you rather depend upon the goodness and sufficiency of a gracious God for your daily provisions? At first, one might consider that one million dollars would be the best decision, but wait. Let’s consider it for a moment. You might think that with a million dollars, you could have anything and everything you ever wanted, and this could be the case until you spent all that you had. Then what would you do? What about the hundreds of examples of men and women who were born into massive wealth and died paupers? Let’s say that we wisely invest our million into accounts that pay a decent dividend. What happens next? Can we be sure our investment will be safe, that it will be there when we need it? If we leave it in the bank so it will gain a profit, what good is it in meeting our daily needs if we choose not to spend it? As they say, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.” And then there is good old Uncle Sam. What happens when he takes his portion? Decisions! Decisions! Where do we go from here? We must depend upon ourselves to make good choices, to not overspend and to wisely protect our investments. Perhaps hoarding is the solution. I have personally known many who have chosen to do so. Understand that what I am suggesting only pertains to those who have placed worldly possessions over the true wealth of God. I say this with remorse. They were not in control of their money; their money was in control of them. Their money was their god. Most people who allow wealth to rule their lives have lives that are shallow and unfulfilled. If you study the gaining of wealth, you will see that certain factors are frequently present. They do not depend upon God for their substance and are barren of all trust and generosity. They seek ways of retaining their wealth and will stop at nothing to preserve it. There is always a hunger to gain, a drive that, in most cases, will excuse dishonest and shady practices. Many wealthy individuals do not know the true measure of their wealth and are never satisfied by possessing it. In most instances, a person’s greed will be allowed to flourish and the need to share abolished. What they choose to give is only an attempt to appease their feeling of guilt, and they will justify their fortune by claiming superiority and merit. As the Bible states, “freely ye have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8). They are not in most cases, happy people, because they spend most of the day worrying about their next million, or of losing the million they already possess. Many of the problems created by depending upon self are greed, evil passion, doubt, coveting, envy, selfishness, worry, dishonesty, corruption, and the like. Need I say more? Let us consider the other situation, depending upon the goodness and sufficiency of a gracious God for our daily provisions. First, we are dealing with an unlimited amount of capital; God owns it all, and He can create more if He should so desire. He has promised to provide the needs of His children, and He will do as He has promised. He will provide for our needs by giving us the wherewithal to meet those needs. There are no inadequate funds in the bank of heaven, and there is only one deposit required to make unlimited withdrawals. We are not in control of our account and do not waste time forever worrying and fretting about the balance. It is impossible to become overdrawn, and we will not be charged for insufficient funds. Having faith in our sustainer, we are at peace with ourselves and with others. We cannot be cheated or swindled. There is no such thing as a heavenly tax that can constantly be raised or levied to swindle us out of our earnings; God does not want or need our money. Living by faith, we are given the knowledge of His unfailing goodness, and our joy is enhanced by His continual promise to meet our needs. Depending upon Him, we learn the importance of reliance, and find it easier to be the friend to others that He has shown us we should be. God will not be in debt to any man. His promises are sure, and His word is without reproach. A loan from God is without interest, and He will never require a payback. The many blessings provided by depending upon God are faith, joy, friendship, assurance, peace, reliance, dependability, truthfulness, thankfulness, and the like. Let me ask that question again. Would you rather be given a million dollars to do with as you please, or would you rather depend upon the goodness and sufficiency of a gracious God for your daily provisions? The answer is yours, but so is the outcome. Rich or poor, we will all be required to give account for our actions. I have known many rich people in my life; those who did not possess great worldly wealth but were rich in the assurance and peace of God’s love. I have also known many rich people who were poor, afraid to trust anything in life but the wealth they possessed, wealth that could be taken away at any moment, wealth that did not give them the assurance of life or of an eternal security but was allowed to make them corrupt and miserable.
When you are left to brag about your massive wealth, instead of a wonderfully gracious God, then you are truly poor and needy. “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me” (Matthew 19:21). In this example, Jesus is telling the rich young man that worldly possessions are not as important as trust in His Heavenly Father. Placing the things of this world before God only shows a lack of discernment and will place you in jeopardy of hell fire and damnation. It is all about priorities and the knowledge to judge what is truly necessary and profitable. If worldly possessions are only temporal and God’s forgiveness is eternal, in what should we place our hope and future? Authoritatively put, there is no future in the things of this world, and to have the hope of eternal life, we must depend upon God. God will bless those who trust in Him. The amount of blessing is up to a gracious God, and the thoughts and demands of this evil world will not limit Him. Praise ye the Lord. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that de-lighteth greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed. Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever. Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. A good man showeth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion. Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies. He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour. The wicked shall see it, and be grieved; he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away: the desire of the wicked shall perish. Psalm 112. I have often quoted the same scripture to uphold different truths. While the perfection of God is found through His holy Word, to deny the smallest part is to deny it all. I know that He has blessed me with His inexhaustible wealth; and, as God blesses us with His bounty, He, being the leader and sustainer of our lives and fortunes, will show us what we are to do as we seek to follow Him. As the purpose and direction of our lives are settled, we will only strive to do what He has determined is necessary and profitable for our continued prosperity.