Category Archives: Wealth

Wealth – two ways to use it

This past week San Diego lost two multi-millionaires.  One accumulated his fortune by a career in real estate development, the other by a successful career in Christian journalism.

The one man, Conrad Prebys, had his picture frequently on society pages at fund-raisers.  He died of cancer July 24 at age 84.  The other man, Tim LaHaye, one-time Minister at Scott Memorial Church—now Shadow Mountain Community Church.  He died of a stroke Monday at age 90.   He and co-writer Jerry Jenkins had written 16 best-selling novels in the “Left Behind” series and sold over 65 million copies.  Prebys gave millions to hospitals, the Arts, the San Diego Zoo and PBS.  He helped keep Downtown Abbey on PBS.  LaHaye also gave millions—to “numerous religious institutions.”  U-T, 7/26/16

Two men, very successful in business and career, let their money follow their interest.  One invested it in this world’s values, the other in eternal causes.  Not to diminish the gifts to worthy earthly causes, but their effect dies when this world ends.  Even now, not every research into disease or illness finds a cure.  And every stage or movie performance ends.  Meanwhile, those who support kingdom projects find historical and eternal results.  God’s workers die, but his work continues and shall until Jesus returns.

Let’s think of that difference when we pay our tithes and give love offerings to God.  Do we want our financial investment to support causes which perish with earth?  Or the One cause that survives our personal death and the end of history itself?

Christians…be sure your wealth supports Christ’s cause now.  And be sure you leave a solid part of your estate to his cause so it can continue to speak of your faith even when you’re gone.

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Wealth – the deception of

C.S. Lewis’ allegory The Great Divorce included a story of a Ghost (a dead man coming within sight of Heaven on a day trip from Hell).  A great Tree shook in the wind and dropped apples of gold around the Ghost.  He at first fell injured by the weight, and fell beneath it.  But, quickly recovered, he rose and began to stuff his pockets with the apples.

 

Finding that useless, he emptied and decided to pick up only two.  Finding even that weight too much to carry, he picked the larger of the two.  Impossible.  Next he searched to find the smallest of the dozen.  Off he staggered, both hands around the fruit, hardly able to keep his balance, wanting to take it back to Hell with him.

A great Voice called him FOOL and urged him to put the gold apple down.  It was too much to carry, and would only harm anyone who wanted it carried away.  The only way to enjoy it was to eat it on the spot.  To no avail.  Off the fool stumbled, trying against the truth to make a lie into truth.  pp. 50-52

Which reminds me.  In the past couple of weeks the sports pages have carried interesting news.  King Dunlap, the Chargers excellent left tackle, the 16-game starter in 2014, was resigned to a four-year, $28 million contract.  The sports writer noted that it would bring Dunlap “financial security.”

Really?  Did he have to go on food stamps with his previous salary, underpaid as he may have been by inflated NFL standards?

Yoan Moncada, the Cuban phenom, whom the Padres hoped to sign, instead signed with the Red Sox for $31.5 million.  More financial security.  Then there’s poor Peyton Manning.  Returning for his 18th year in 2015, the 39 year old ancient will make only $15 million, having taken a $4 million cut.  Good Heavens, he may have to go on food stamps along with assisted living bequests!

Which raises a question.  How much money is needed in the bank, in savings, in investments, etc. to create “financial security”?  If you have only the secular view, NO AMOUNT will be enough, as the man with the golden apples proves.  You’ll always need more, no matter how expansive your financial portfolio.  If you put God first in your giving, adjusting your lifestyle to what is left after you pay a tithe and give a love offering that reflects your spiritual maturity, the amount doesn’t matter.  Since your security is a matter of hand-to-mouth, and God is the hand reaching our mouth, we KNOW…God provides.

 

PRIVILEGE/WEALTH – almost missing what is owned

The man who shared in the December 17, 2013, Mega Millions Lottery jackpot drawing, almost missed claiming it by forgetting it.  Suddenly awakened from his sleep at 3 AM one morning, the delivery driver remembered being in San Jose, where the winning ticket was purchased, and at a gift shop where he purchased 5 Quick Pick tickets.  After pawing through used lottery tickets on the dresser, he found the ticket.  While the other winner chose to receive a lump payment of $120 million after taxes, the California winner hadn’t made his choice by January 4, 2014.  San Diego Union Tribune, 1/4/14

The story suggests a compelling spiritual truth.  Jesus Christ has already won and guaranteed forgiveness and eternal life to all who accept him as Savior and Lord.  Our trouble is that, like Steve Tran with his lottery ticket, we put Jesus aside because we’re busy or distracted or disinterested.  He soon gets buried under the trivia of life until we forget him altogether.  Only in a crisis do we remember him and return home.

No one needs to be lost.  Christ’s sacrifice can save everyone from all depths to towering heights, the first-time sinner, the basted-and-marinated-in-depravity sinner.  But we must be aware we are sinners in need and seek his forgiveness by personally committing our way to him.

Mr. Tran would have lost his wealth had a sudden remembrance not jarred him awake one night.  But what infinitely greater loss do millions suffer when they die in their sins because no sudden personal crisis jars them awake to their spiritual need and Christ’s spiritual superfluity.

Thank God for all problems, losses and disasters that remind us that we have WON something from God we haven’t CLAIMED—and knee our way into his presence to have all our sins removed, none remaining.