Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ephesians 4:28 comments: to give to him that needeth

28  Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

Remember God’s commandment to the Hebrews in Exodus 20:15, Thou shalt not steal.

There are sub-cultures around the world and in America where stealing is not looked down upon very much.  There is no shame in it. The very fact that Paul mentions this shows us the nature of the common culture of the time. Theft was common in spite of very strict and harsh punishments under Roman law which included being placed under the authority of the victim or execution even as well as compensation. (Ivana Jaramaz Reskušić, abstract of “Theft in  Roman law: delictum publicum and delictum privatum,” Collected Papers of Zagreb Law Faculty, Vol.57 No.2 April 2007, 313-352. http://hrcak.srce.hr/index.php?show=clanak&id_clanak_jezik=18229&lang=en ).

We have here the Biblically sound Christian principle for working hard, to have an abundance with which to help others. If a Christian acquires wealth, if he or she is blessed with more than they need, the purpose is so that they help those in need. It is not for a bigger home, a swimming pool, a luxury car, or vacations on the Mediterranean. If you have more than you need and you  are more concerned about being able to tour the country in an RV after your retirement than you are the lost or the poor, especially in the church and in your family, then you are not in God’s will for your life.

The selfishness of Christians comes from not taking the eternal perspective and thinking only of the temporal and, particularly, their own belly and social position. If you have met your needs and met your obligations of a non-frivolous nature the right place to invest your money is in the care of God’s people and in reaching the lost. Period.

You take care of your basic needs and you prudently prepare for your upkeep when you are no longer able to work and you invest in God’s work. God wants you to have a good testimony before the world as in maintaining your monetary obligations, of course not making commitments you shouldn’t, and He wants you to give joyously out of your abundance to those who are truly less fortunate than yourself.

While the word, “tithe,” and the command to give a specific amount are not in the part of the New Testament written directly to Christians this statement, in the context of helping poorer Christians, is;

2Corinthians 9:6 ¶  But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7  Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

Our savings account is in heaven and we are to lay up treasures there, not here. Jesus, in a talk on covetousness, says;

Luke 12:33  Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. 34  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

While the great body of Christians are not called to live as itinerant preachers traveling around and living on the kindness of churches and are called to work hard so that others can be helped the principle of where your heart is there your treasure will be applies.

We are called to work with our own hands, to make something useful, so that we are not lacking in what we need.

1Thessalonians 4:11  And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12  That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

To sum up, from these passages, we have three reasons for working. One is to have an honest testimony before the unsaved, two is to have the things we need, and three is to help others in need. There are two things that give away a Christian's lack of faith. One is how they handle death when its their death that is imminent and two is how they view money when its their money.

“The thing which is good,” would preclude illegal or immoral vocations like a drug dealer or working in a casino. Contrary to liberal Christian thought, God does not NEED Christian BlackJack Dealers or Strippers.

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