Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Proverbs 28:20 commentary; the faithful man versus the get rich quick huckster

20 ¶ A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.

To be faithful constitutes a lot of things in the Bible. Faithful to God, faithful to your word, faithful to covenants and promises, faithful as dependable among others. The contrast here is important to note as the faithful man in this Proverb is put up against the man who wants to get rich quick. It is in the contrast that we find what is meant by faithful in this particular verse.

A person who honors his commitments, pays his debts, and keeps his word, and, of course, follows the logical flip side of that argument; doesn’t make excessive promises, keeps his debts small, and doesn’t offer guarantees he can’t keep shall abound with blessings. We don’t know too many people like that. Modern life compels many Christians to go into great debt, to spread themselves so thin with their time that they can’t honor every word they say, and, of course, urges them to just keep piling on debt and making promises of time that it is impossible for them to honor. Honor your word and be faithful and God promises that you’ll abound in blessings.

In church settings we like to limit a person’s faithfulness only to how often he attends church functions and how much money he gives. But, this is a rather narrow view of faithfulness. You can’t be faithful to Christ while making promises you can’t keep outside the church. A promise you make to an unsaved person, such as your employer, sports, community service, or something like going to visit or help an aged parent on a regular basis are extremely important as testimonies manifesting your following Christ.

Proverbs 20:6 ¶ Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?

Don’t over extend yourself. But keep your promises. Your word is a testimony. Your faithfulness to Christ includes your testimony. Don’t use church as an excuse to avoid keeping your word. The key is to not make promises that you can’t possibly keep. Think about what you say. You are faithful to Wednesday night service. Don’t promise a child’s coach or your employer you’ll be available on Wednesday night then, and go back on your word. When you stick your nose up in the air and say, “well, its church”, you encourage the unsaved person to blaspheme because you lack all credibility. It would have been better not to promise at all than to promise and not be faithful. Bob Jones, Sr. said that the greatest ability is dependability.

Are you faithful to Christ in all your doings with people who are unsaved or with weak Christians? Are you a testimony and an example?

The contrast here is with a person who seeks to get rich quick. He makes many promises that he has no intention of keeping. He hurries to be all things to all people for the sake of getting their money. Every contact is a prospective customer, even people in the assembly of believers. He can’t make a phone call or a visit without trying to find a way into making it a business opportunity. He’ll press his card into your hand before or after the service and make every effort to pressure you into doing business with him, perhaps, he’ll say, because he’s a brother in Christ.

The person who hungers to get rich quick has no problem making merchandise of the Lord. A church where networking, not worship, is the main activity is a sorry church. People who are in a hurry to get rich quick will compromise every precept God lays on a Christian’s heart in order to be successful and often are only limited by the constraints of the law, if that even, in order to keep from being arrested. True success is a rock climb that takes great effort and time. It can’t be accomplished by a Christian quickly and without effort lest he trample on some important precept of God’s word.

Now, about faithfulness to church attendance, a clear and simple rule should be to unite with your brothers and sisters in Christ for worship, prayer, fellowship, and service whenever at all humanly possible. It means not making unnecessary commitments on those times when you have that opportunity. Work, family emergencies, sickness, and testimony opportunities may interfere with that but we all agree that that should be your goal. Church is a place where many blessings are gained through encouragement and edification. Once again, though, keep in mind not to use church as an excuse not to honor your word, your responsibilities, or opportunities to manifest Christ before others. Sticking your nose up in the air, Bible tucked under your arm, as you inform your nephew that you can’t make his birthday party because there is a speaker at church that night may or may not be a good way of drawing him closer to Christ. You might want to think very carefully about that. Don’t let anyone outside of the Bible dictate what it means to serve Christ. You also serve Christ by your witness in the world and that witness is not served well if you are viewed as an uncaring, sanctimonious boor who is a member of a cult that controls him rather than a Spirit filled Christian from whom the love of God exudes like a sweet perfume and who cares for lost souls.

Those of us who are in church on Wednesday night and Sunday or even Saturday should be praying that those who are not are declaring Christ by their very actions at work, with family, or in some other situations. The person who has to work on Wednesday night could sure use some prayer help to have an opportunity to show Christ to someone with whom they work rather than condemnation or scoffing because they aren’t sitting in the pew. If someone tells you on Sunday that Wednesday they’ve been asked to attend a township meeting then maybe instead of telling them that they’re backsliding and they’ll answer at the judgment seat of Christ for every sermon they missed you should help them pick out the right tracts to carry or figure out a plan on how they can witness while there. When was the last time a church member felt comfortable telling you they were going to an out of state family reunion next Sunday and what do you think would be a good way to get a chance to talk about Christ?

Still, most people miss church for reasons like “my yard needs mowed”, “I’m tired”, or “my show is on TV”, so excuses are just that, pathetic reasons for not feeling a need to hear God’s word preached or to fellowship with other Christians in worship and praise.

A Christian should be faithful in all things and should not seek to be wealthy in the world’s goods, and certainly not hastily.

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