Philippians 2:4 “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”
Have you looked around recently? If you do, you will notice all sorts of people that are in need. Some will openly tell you about what they are going through and others will hide it behind a smile figuring it doesn’t do much good to complain and few like to listen anyway. Whether you notice them all or not, there are an abundance of them out there.
When we do find out about them the thought that so often comes is, “What can I do about it?” You add to this the fact that most people are looking out for their own lives busy building their place of safe haven. People work to build and store up what they will need. It takes a lot of work just to get their own issues taken care of and their own needs met. Don’t they deserve the right to look after themselves?
No one has the right to tell another person how much they can or cannot have in this life or how much they can accumulate in riches and assets. As long as what they work toward and build is done with integrity, their truly is no limit. God is not moved negatively by stuff we accumulate. Jesus did warn us that the stuff will become outdated or rust or worse. Matthew 6:19-20 says, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves.”
Even though Jesus was saying this, it wasn’t a statement about not accumulating things. It was an instruction of heart to keep our focus on His view of things and what we need to keep as the central focus of this life’s pursuit. He wanted our life’s focus to be one who touches other people with Jesus’ love – helping others know of the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ and to help people learn of God’s ways and how to live by His Word. When that is the central focus of our life, then our heart is centered in the perfect will of God.
Again, Jesus wasn’t coming against riches in His warning of riches. Some of the greatest Bible heroes were extremely rich men. Being rich wasn’t the issue. The heart attitude toward riches was the issue. 1 Tim. 6:10 says, “For the love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” It is the “love of money” that is the root of all kinds of evil. Every person I have ever known that has great riches and assets has had to work through learning to manage their attitude along with learning to manage their money. They would be the first to admit that having an excess of finances above their needs creates the opportunity for pride and wandering from their faith and purpose in life. I know people with great assets and riches that HAVE worked through those attitudes but have become focused on God’s focus – now using what they earn and have accumulated and built up for helping finance the spreading the gospel and building the kingdom of God.
I have known Christians over the years that have had little or no money but were always craving for more money. Many of them have wandered in their faith. In their craving for more money, they wandered from integrity. They’ve made promises they did not keep. They lied to get what they want. They cheated people – bosses, customers, insurance companies – even their own families trying to gain money. They crossed moral and ethical boundaries for the sake of money. In many ways, a person lacking money is much more susceptible to “craving money and wandering from the faith…” than a rich person might be.
The anchor that keeps either person – rich or poor person anchored is their heart attitude toward people and whether they are keeping God’s focus of life – touching people with the love of Jesus. If you have money and things, they can be used to help people. If you don’t have money and things, you can still have what you need to help people. It all starts with the attitude of caring about people.
We may think we know what is disturbing to God or put in stronger terms, what is an abomination to God. We can learn something more by looking at Ezekiel 16:49-50. “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me…”
In these verses Ezekiel was giving God’s people greater insight as to why Sodom (not Gomorrah) was judged. The people were living in a lush and flourishing land. Abundance flowed in this land. There was no lack. Because many people had everything they needed, people were idle – busy at being busybodies. They didn’t use their abundance of resources and wisdom to help and strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. Instead they were prideful, critical, and snubbed their noses at those that needed help. God saw this as an abomination.
The only way to protect yourself from this kind of attitude creeping into your life unawares is to be focused on living your life caring about others and being that light and touch of God’s love. If you live like this, it won’t matter what your financial condition is. You will be a blessing to those around you whether it’s a listening ear, a compassionate reply, and a prayer of faith, or whether it’s an action of good deeds that brings immediate help. Anyone that has concerns and needs can be counted as one who needs their hand strengthened.
Today’s Fresh Manna verse says, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” It goes on to say that this was the heart and mind of Jesus and it should be our heart and mind also. Let it be in you! To whom much is given, much is required!
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2007 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.