OceanSide church of Christ

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An Answer to A Question in Gospel Minutes, August 17, 2012

David Thurman


Question:  Dear brother Thurman:  I am a young man and I am making good money.  I deeply believe in the Lord, but right now as my business takes off I have little time for church or church activities.  I am thinking I should just make my money and then as I get older and am financially set, I can devote both time and money to the work of Christ.  Is this a good plan? – B.T., TX


          I think you are making some fundamental miscalculations.  First, you assume you will get older.  Recall the story Jesus told.  “And He told them a parable, saying, ‘The land of a rich man was very productive.  And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’  Then he said, ‘This is what I will do:  I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.’  But God said to him, ‘You fool!  This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’  So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God’” (Luke 12:16-21).  This man, like you, was thriving in his profession.  He was making money and looking at years of success.  But his life came to an end before he could even fill one of his barns.  You are assuming you will live to enjoy the fruits of your labor, but that is an assumption, not a fact.

          Second, you are wrong to think financial success is the key to serving God or even to enjoying life.  “But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.  For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.  If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.  But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.   For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (I Tim. 6:6-10).  Paul says the goal of life as a Christian is not financial success, but contentment.  He warns that all our money and possessions do not last past this life.  They are not permanent and are, in fact, merely tools we use to navigate life.  While we think having money will make us happy, Paul says we wind up with many griefs or stresses.

          Third, you are mistaken in that you are putting you faith in your financial success instead of the One who gave you (sic) your success.  Your faith in your ability to succeed in business is commendable, but the fact is all of us get our success, our daily bread from the Lord.  Any success you enjoy is due to His blessing.  Your trust should be in God who gives you success and not in the money that comes from success.

          Finally, you are mistaken to think that you can put off the Lord when it comes to your service to Him.  I cannot find an example of a person called by God who was told to go do other things first.  In fact, that is what Jesus told us not to do.  “And He said to another, ‘Follow me.’  But he said, ‘Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.’  But He said to him, ‘Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.’  Another also said, ‘I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.’  But Jesus said to him, ‘No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God’” (Luke 9:59-62).  Both of these disciples wanted to tend to other issues first, before following Jesus.  As you can see, Jesus condemned this attitude in the strongest terms.  You need to make the Lord your first and only priority.  God will provide the rest.