Friday, November 09, 2012

The secret of getting rich

Thesaurus states that riches are ‘An abundance of material possessions and resources’ which covers many aspects of riches, but not all!

Recently my wife and I with two friends did a fifteen-day tour of the cities of the seven churches named by John in Revelation ch.s 2 and 3. This took the first four days, and then we had a few days in Kusadasi where we visited Miletus. From Kusadasi we went to the Greek island of Samos from where the Apostle Paul sailed to Miletus to meet with the Ephesian elders. One night on that island and then a ferry down to Patmos, where John wrote the Book of the Revelation. This is a lovely island; we spent three nights there. Our last port of call was Kos Town on the island of Kos. It was there that we saw Roma Abramovich’s yacht ‘Eclipse’ in the harbour. It is the largest privately owned yacht in the world at 533feet long. It has a helicopter on board, two swimming pools, seventy staff, and if you want to rent it for a week it will cost you a reported £1.25million. It also has a sea to air missile defence system and a James Bond type submarine to vacate the yacht if under attack, apart from the normal bodyguards that attend his person. This highlights the dangers that come with being wealthy. Mr.Abramovich is a mega-rich man but according to Forbes Magazine he only makes No. 69 of he world’s top 400 billionaires.
The 8th October issue of the magazine has an interesting article about David Green who is a born again billionaire (No. 79 on Forbes list of top 400). He is CEO of Hobby Lobby an arts and crafts store-chain (520) in America. The company is solely family owned and sponsors worldwide evangelical outreach. One venture he sponsors is the YouVersion Bible app for mobile phones. It is equipped to offer 300 different versions of Scripture in 114 languages. To date there have been 50 million downloads throughout the world. Have you got one?

Conversely, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been disgraced by being sentenced to four years in prison for tax fraud. He is No. 169 on Forbes list at around $6 Billion. Whether he will spend one day in prison is another question, he has bounced back more times than a tennis ball from Roger Federer’s racket!  Some Billionaires have known the embarrassment of losing large amounts of their wealth by shrinking stocks, but others have recovered along the path of affluence by shrewd business dealings.

Proverbs 23:4 reads, “Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.”

The evangelist Luke tells us about four men that were rich and are worthy of consideration. The first one was a farmer; the second of the ruling class, the third a socialite and the fourth was a tax collector.

The farmer had a good harvest and had thoughts of expansion, he said in Luke 12:18, “This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” He planned for a life of ease and prosperity but had not planned for an early exit. God said to him, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” The farmer had a good eye for business but was blind concerning eternity; he had no plans for the future. Have you?

The young man from the ruling class did think about eternity, Luke said, in Luke 18:18, And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!” This young man had plenty of material things but did not have eternal life and he wanted it, the problem was he loved his riches more than his soul.

The rich man in Luke 16 died and went to Hell, the beggar Lazarus died too and went to Heaven. Anyone, rich or poor that dies without Christ as their Saviour, dies without hope. Jesus said, “ I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come.”  Jesus died and rose again and went to Heaven, anyone that believes in Him will also go to Heaven, but unbelievers will go to Hell.

The taxman in Luke 19:2  “Was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was richWhether it was curiosity or concern we do not know but we do know that Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus. He climbed a tree to see the Saviour and when Jesus was at the tree He summoned him to come down. Riches may elevate one in society, being prepared to be humbled by the Lord, to be brought down to earth, meant salvation came to Zacchaeus. Christ came to his home. His outlook changed from that point, he said that half of his wealth he would give to the poor and if he had robbed anyone that he would repay fourfold. A change of heart and a change of destination, he was Heaven born and Heaven bound.  He was rich in faith. Amen and God bless.

Written for Stephen Baker by Stan Burdit

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