Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Day 38: Let's Wrestle with the Text and One Another!

Thank you for keeping me on track that today our focus is really to be on Proverbs chapter 10. With that said let’s take another look at verse four: “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.”

Let’s wrestle a little with the text and with one another’s perspective of the text. A number of your posts from yesterday share that it is your opinion that wealth is not for everyone. I beg to differ. If what you are saying is: Not everyone is wealthy and not everyone will become wealthy, I wholeheartedly agree. But, the text is sharing a principle of wealth-building: God created humanity with skills, gifts, and creativity in such a way that if they choose to become diligent and utilize these endowments, they can over time generate income for their families. In essence the text is saying: We all have been created with the POTENTIAL to make and accumulate wealth.

(Now, the text does not address, or is it meant to address in this specific citation, the known historic violations of human rights by one group upon another in the removal of their potential to have equal access to shelter, education, fresh drinking water, and financial opportunities as cited by the United Nations [cf. The Wealth and Poverty of Nations by David S. Landes].). My argument is not on the existence of systemic violations that affects wealth-building opportunities in many nations. My contention is that oftentimes a failed Christian view of the Bible and money is that “making money is not God’s will or that some have been specially graced by God to make money and others have not been.” To that claim, which I think some of yesterday’s posts intimate, I offer my contrary perspective, which was so well articulated by the famed minister who helped found Temple University, Russell H. Conwell. In his classic book that captured one of his most powerful and historic lectures in Philadelphia, Acres of Diamonds (p. 20-21), he shared my sentiments better than I ever could when he said:

“For a man to have money, even in large sum, is not an inconsistent thing. We preach against covetousness, and you know we do, in the pulpit, and oftentimes preach against it so long and use the terms about “filthy lucre: so extremely that Christians get the idea that when we stand in the pulpit we believe it is wicked for any man to have money—until the collection-basket goes around, and then we almost swear at the people because they don’t give more money. Oh, the inconsistency of such doctrines as that!

Money is power, and you ought to be reasonably ambitious to have it. You ought because you can do more good with it than you could without it. Money printed your Bible, money builds your churches, money sends your missionaries, and money pays your preachers, and you would not have many of them, either, if you did not pay them. I am always willing that my church should raise my salary, because the church that pays the largest salary always raises it the easiest. You never knew an exception to it in your life. The man who gets the largest salary can do the most good with the power that is furnished to him. Of course he can if his spirit be right to use it for what it is given to him.

I say, then, you ought to have money. If you can honestly attain unto riches in Philadelphia, it is our Christian and godly duty to do so. It is an awful mistake of these pious people to think you must be awfully poor in order to be pious.”

Armed with that perspective, how do you interpret Proverbs 10:4? Let’s hear your view!


  1. Pastor, Verse 4, and indeed much of Proverbs 10, implores us to work with diligence and to put forth our best efforts in our profession. It is forgoeent by many of us today that money is a consequence, not a goal.

    If you seek the Lord first, his blessings will track you down. If you seek to do your job as well as it can be done, then increase will track you down and overtake you. So long as your goal is to increase your effectiveness, capability, and capacity then increase will find you. It is the manifestation of a spiritual law.

    Pastor David and Dr. Ireland (2 streams of income as per last Sunday's sermon) both seek to do their respective jobs well and do so with great passion and all of the resources and abilities that God has given to each of them. For us in the pews, the same laws hold true. Work diligently and passionately at what God has placed within our spirits and our lives. A calling to a profession is placed inside of us by God. An opportunity to use it (the Power to get wealth) is placed in our path by God, and it waits to see if we have the wisdom to see it, the courage to take hold of it, and the tenacity to see it through to completion and manifestation.

  2. Hello everyone,

    Tsk, tsk me thinketh Pastor David, behaveth not…- Me is a wrestler too and always win (ha-ha!!)

    I’m quoting myself here again to bring light to what was posted yesterday – “In light of Christians attaining wealth, I think it’s a negative mind-set that has to be broken when believers don’t see the necessity to get wealth. Some have believed that Christians have to be meek and they see it as living in poverty”. Again, a wrongful impartation of the term has been communicated to believers. As I will stand by my comment “wealth is indeed not for everyone”, my interpretation of Proverbs 4:10 is that wealth is the art of hard work, and those that don’t strive to achieve and who believe that getting rich quick is the way to go is not helping themselves or society. Now if we have to go with “the man who gets the largest salary can do the most…” than we may be in some sort of error. Let’s rationalize this a little and not think in Christian terms, since it’s mentioned on today’s post that “money is power” – what is power? I will post this thought from Friedrich Nietzsche, retrieved from the Big Question by Robert C. Solomon: “there are many other conceptions of the good life, there are as many possible conceptions as there are human goals… for example, the life in pursuit of great wealth or political power is very much like the life of the success ethic. But then, there’s another sense of “power” that is not political but personal. It is the power to grow as a person… to develop one’s talents and to create.” (Robert C. Solomon 2002, The Big Question) As I concur with the saying that with wealth, we can do more good than ever possible, my question is “do we do it, isn’t it kept for personal gain – is it shared properly as it was done in Acts 2:45, absolutely not. Working hard is a good thing, but some can work as hard as their health and strength will allow them to, but if in the back of their mind, they hold the belief that they will never attain wealth, what can you do but disprove their claim and not take it personal. My concern is that this thought process has infiltrated and settled in the Christian mind for too long and it must leave.

    When it comes to hard work, I believe that it’s a great advantage to be able to achieve and feel good about it. As Richard C. Chewning would say in his book “Business through the eyes of faith”, “One person’s unproductive rock field is another’s productive query” wealth is not for everyone means that if one is narrow-minded in their self-interest, it will be of no benefit to the kingdom. Apostle Paul warned Timothy in 1 Tim. 6: 10 “for the love of money is the root of all evil, and some have strayed from the faith in their greediness and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” Being wealthy Pastor D is wonderful but we are warned to be careful because it has been a reality that those that have attained it don’t see the use of helping someone in need, as a matter of fact, some have become so blind to the need of others around them that they would rather criticize the needy person than help them.

    By the way Pastor David, “Doth sayeth the Lord, thou shalt receiveth a raise sooneth and your heart will be merryeth”

    “Everyone, have a wonderful day, be blessed and stay dry”


  3. It seems as if this church is fuel by making money. From the sermons to the books and DVDs for sale in the lobby. That's something that keeps me from attending. My fiance insist that there is nothing wrong with this, I on the other hand have a BIG problem with it! Every time I've stepping in to this place, the sermon was based around finance. Please explain this!

  4. I take extreme offense to the word being used to solicit funds! Even the sermon about the 300 spiritual warriors! Then there was the time when the pastor brought people up on to the stage and he took this one kid, place his hand on the kid's head and asked "Have you ever spoken in tongues?". The kids said "No". The pastor then proceeds to give a speech and in a gesture of the pastor's "Holy Power", he tells the kid to speak in tongues! I was shocked!!! Then I took notice of two of the choir members attempting to coach the young man in to speaking in tongues. That was absolutely horrible!!!

  5. Good Morning Pastor David & Everyone!

    Such a very good dialogue of thoughts, insights and perspectives...BRAVO EVERYONE!

    When I think of wealth my mind focuses on the word diligent in Proverbs 10:4. The Amplified Bible says it this way: He becomes poor who works with a slack and idle hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.

    Two words immediately jump out at me the word becomes referring to the slack and idle other words to becomes implies that it didn't begin this way. Which connects to the "dangers" of an idle all begins in the persons mind/thought processes that leads to the pathway of unrighteousness/hustling and or laziness as we mentioned yesterday.

    Now the second word is diligent...which translated (defined) means to persevere, constant in effort. It takes constant effort, passion and delight to diligently seek after or pursue a particular thing or goal.

    Both bring me to Prov. 13:11, 22, that speaks of wealth that is earned unjustly shall diminish but he that gathers little by little shall increase his riches. Ahhh, the wealth of the wicked is laid up for the just. And we all know that the just shall live by FAITH! (Rom. 1:17, Hab 2:4, Gal. 3:11 and Heb. 13:38)...
    I believe that as Paul states we must die daily and become Crucified with Christ so that it is no longer I (our natural sinful nature) that lives within us but the diligence in living by faith of the sonof God who loved and gave himself (Gal 2:20).

    For without FAITH it is impossible to please God! My question is what are we truly seeking in our daily lives? What is the hearts intentions for wealth? Is it a desire to be among those who are Blessed to be a Blessing...the delight and diligence in service to others / the Kingdom of God! To faint not...diligence is tireless effort in spite of whatever.

    When we can all get to a place of diligently paying our tithes 10% plus (as Pastor David confessed he long ago passed 10% but is cheerfully at 30%)...that's when wealth or the pursuit of it, has been placed in its proper perspective. Giving always (employed, unemployed, retired, sick, etc.).

    It's all a process (little by little) to be a steadfast, diligent disciple who is passionate about the Lord's work and all other Kingdom building opportunities!

    Here is a personal side note: Although I am new to Christ Church (still going through Joining Our Church Family)...when Pastor Ireland mentioned the need for VW and to pay $500 above your tithe...I was truly disappointed because I don't have the financial income that would allow me to be a VW on that requested level of $500. But I do cheerfully tithe 10% of my gross and I have commited to a lesser amt as a VW each month in spite of very serious financial hardships. My intention is only to do according to what God has prospered me...not for wealth or a pat on the back...3 John 1:2.

    Operation Take Back...BREAKTHROUGH! This Corporate prayer is BLESSING because we are all joining together as Pastor Ireland leads...what a time we are going to have on Friday 10/30/2009.

    For the Love of God,

  6. Since we skipped over Proverbs 8 in our zeal to achieve Breakthrough, can we revisit this chapter in the future? It is a densely packed chapter worthy of discussion and thought, I believe.

  7. Good Afternoon,
    I find it interesting that people become very sensitive whenever faith and finances are discussed but Scripture often discusses money. Further, scripture says in Matthew 6:21 that wherever your treasure is, there shall your heart be also. So, this is also a "heart" matter. As long as the focus of wealth building is primarily on the accomplishing the plan and purposes of God (which by the way often requires money to accomplish) I don't have a problem giving it to the church, program, entity or person. I believe that any Christian who is attempting to live a righteous life has the power and blessing of God to get wealth, but a bigger question is "can God trust you?" and are you mature enough to handle wealth. I, like Shaun wish I had more income so I could be more of a financial blessing to my church and to the Body of Christ.


  8. bignwk said...
    "It seems as if this church is fuel by making money. From the sermons to the books and DVDs for sale in the lobby. That's something that keeps me from attending."

    Dear bignwk, thank you for stopping by, if you have been attending Christ Church as you claim, you would notice that it's not about money but rather about helping people be better and be ALL that Jesus-Christ who died for them call them to be. My friend, this blog is a thought-sharing for all those interested in keeping up with the spiritual journey. I would advise you to go on the church website and share your concerns as the team will be more than happy to help with your questions. This blog is another way of reaching and sharing the love of Christ to those that are interested and for others, it's an opportunity to connect with others of the same faith. Apostle Paul warned us believers to be like-minded and that's what we're doing here. The blog is not for negative feedback but rather for encouragement, since we only have two days left, I would encourage you to get on the train if you don't want to be left behind.

    Be blessed!


  9. bignwk, thank you for feeling comfortable enough to post your views though they are totally different from thousands of people in our congregation. May I suggest to you three things that will help you process your views, feelings, and opinion in a way that will give you peace and clarity. First, take a few minutes to read Proverbs 10:4 and address the question outlined in yesterday’s blog surrounding what constitutes a diligent person versus a lazy person. The topic is not on money as you supposed but on work ethic. Then tie your answer into the conversation that our blogging community is addressing. You need not post your answer because the exercise is to simply aide you in sticking with the ongoing conversation about reclaiming areas of our lives including work ethic and work style. And, when our work ethic is exemplary there are a whole host of byproducts to that including increased resources.

    Second, ask yourself this question: Do I know why the church offers a bookstore to its congregants? I was there at the bookstore’s inception in 1995 and the answer to the question is: The congregation repeatedly requested a bookstore so that they could save time and gas in having to drive elsewhere to purchase books and other resources, which they wanted to secure. The congregation requested the sermons be put on CDs so that they could hear the word over and over as they drove to work, while also having an opportunity to share it with their neighbors and friends who were not in attendance including house bound from sickness. To ascertain if the church is unethical in this practice you should look at things like price comparison, the Bible’s stance on church bookstores, etc. Afterwards, draw your conclusion based on facts and raw data rather than speculation.

    Third, as you’ve been reading through the Book of Acts throughout our 40-day spiritual journey did you notice such passages like Acts 19:1-6? If not, please check it out and ask yourself this question: How did Paul pray for the 12 men to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Were his actions/gestures calling attention to himself or to a methodology Jesus used in praying for others (Luke 18:15)? Did Paul force them or try to get them to speak in other tongues or were the speaking in tongues a response to the in-filling of the Holy Spirit? In other words, it would do you good to sit with someone more biblically knowledgeable than yourself in order to secure solid answers to the questions and thoughts you’re wrestling with because it is not good for these issues to become a stumbling block to your spiritual development. If you’d like to take me up on my offer, simply contact the church office @ 973.783.1010 and ask to meet with one of the pastors regarding my invitation to you. I’d love to meet you as well and check back with you to ensure that your pressing questions are being addressed in a way that resonates with you.

  10. Good afternoon all,
    As I read bignwk's response, I was trying to decide how to respond. Since I am new to Christ and Christ Church, I didn't quite know how to get my point across in a way as to not offend. I put up a prayer and said I'd come back. To God be the Glory because Pastor Ireland said it for me. Money is a very sensitive subject for most. I myself would like to give more, and by faith and blessings, I have been able to. Simply put, the more I give, the more I am able to give. On another note, I was at the service bignwk referred to and saw it totally differently. I believe the other members were trying to help him to use the gift he was just given. I myself received the gift of speaking in tongues at Prayer Fest back in August, and when it first happened, I didn't understand it either. Had it not been for the 'coaching' of others, it may have been lost. Because I am a new Christian, there is much I am still learning, but one thing I know is the feeling of being filled with the Holy Spirit. I am looking forward to Friday and I thank the Pastoral Team for providing ways for us reclaim areas of our lives that the enemy has stolen.

  11. Greetings,
    I agree God has created all of us with the potential to achieve wealth. However, when a person becomes obsessed with achieving wealth, he/she becomes vulnerable to the enemy's tricks. Wealth should be viewed as a gift from God to support his work on earth.
    "Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work - this is a gift of God." Ecclesiastes 5:19

    A Captive of Hope

  12. For me the question has always been "how is one using the wealth or blessings they receive?" For example: five cars for two people is greed and lust. A pair of $500 shoes falls into the same category. Its a misuse of the blessing. "I do" because "I can" is not why I believe God blesses us with wealth. "Overflow" is for Kingdom purposes when one is a disciple of Christ. There is also a difference between doing something "in excellence" for the Kingdom and doing something "in excess" for the Kingdom. After being at Christ Church for over 12 years, I believe I'm in a church where the "motive" is excellence for the Kindgom and the people of God". Grace & Peace

  13. Hello All!

    What a great exchange! Discussions about finances and wealth-building among Christians is always lively.

    As I see it, wealth allows us to be independent when caring for ourselves, our families, the Church as well as the causes, organizations and programs we love. Not having wealth results in being beholden to others and subject to their (positive or negative) influence.

    As God has given us the ability to produce wealth and the bible teaches us how to do it, I see it as a moral responsibility to diligently work to produce wealth so that we can support God's kingdom.

    Regarding the church (our church and others) being fueled by money, well ... it takes money to share God's message and support his people.

    If all Christians took God's wealth building principles to heart, put the principles in action and gave generously to the church "above and beyond" what is biblically required - the church could serve in even a bigger way than it already does. And, the church would not have to expend energy producing the money needed to fuel its missions.

    For example, imagine if one of God's wealthy servants donated $250,000 in addition to tithes and offerings to the CD ministry so that everyone could have a free CD of each service. What a blessing to masses! The more of us who can give generously, the more power we have to spread the word of God is a big way.

    Now ... I'm not suggesting that wealth is necessary to serve God, I'm just saying that having it allow us (including the church) to be independent in living our lives and serving God.

    I often think our resistance to accept that we have been given the ability to produce wealth by God in an excuse to not live up to our true potential and can be an excuse to be "lazy". Just my thoughts! :-)

    Blessings to all!


    P.S. If one has worked to produce wealth, gives generously to the church, supports their family and other charitable causes, what's wrong with expensive shoes, cars, etc.? I find danger in judgement.


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