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January 24, 2010

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Well done. One of the most thoughtful pieces on the topic I've ever seen. I cringe every time I see TV preachers asking their flock to "tithe" 12% or more of their income with the promise of prosperity.

For where God built a church, there the Devil would also build a chapel.
Martin Luther


When Christ said that, sometimes the subject and area is not kept in mind, he was speaking to the wealthy of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem was going to be leveled in 40yrs from when he spoke.

Such a crushing defeat in a Society based on Inheritance would literally turn the rich into inter generationally poor overnight.

I'm a fairly new reader, and this is a great post - thank you for introducing this concept to people who may not have a firm grasp on biblical finances.

One interesting note that I learned recently about the eye of the needle - In those days there was a naturally occuring rock formation called "the eye of the needle" that travellers had to pass through. It was low hanging and in order for a camel to pass through they eye of the needle they would have to bow so low that they were almost kneeling. One listening to Christ speak would have understood this verse to mean that in order to get to heaven you would have to assume a position of submission and humility. Not always easy to do when you have a bunch of money and people hold you in high esteem.

Thanks for all the great feedback. It encourages me to keep writing.

Thank you so much for writing this. I've heard many messages lately that make it sound like a sin to have more than anyone else, and that "in the name of Christ, we must give it away." Give, give, give to "God's work," are what the messages say. As Christians, I believe, God is not confined to His work only being at a church, or only things that the government has declared tax-deductible. Churches should not even be preaching the 10% number and in doing so coming very close to trying to put a law on us. Instead, the message should be about God owning everything, and our hearts and minds must be seeking and obeying the Holy Spirit in the area of our finances, just as much as in the area of our talents, time, and other resources.

Thank you for sharing this well-balanced article! I "roll" with some people who have tremendous wealth and some who are the poorest of the poor. I've discovered that I have much to learn from both sides. And, I've discovered that when the rich help meet the needs of the poor, the rich become Jesus to the poor, but the poor also become Jesus to the rich (Matt 25).

Hey FMF,

Why don't you have a printer friendly button?

Seth --

I don't think Typepad has one.

For a more indepth treatment of the subject. Check out "Happy Are You Poor" by Thomas Dubay. In this book he distinguishes between poverty and destitution. The quotes from Proverbs would imply destitution or not being able to care for oneself. Poverty on the other hand implies "Living Simply, so that others may simply live". A sharing and sparing lifestyle is very much presented in the Acts of the Apostles and was one of the hallmarks of the early Church. I think that the love of money and the freedom it brings is more ingrained in us in the "1st World" than we know.

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