Fine times an’ good boot is about anybody can ever hope t’ want.”
–Clair Huffacker (The Cowboy and the Cossack)
“I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need.”
–Philippians 4:12 (AMP)
The affluent church is a dangerous thing. Now, I am not speaking of the influence of the church upon the world, but the affluent church can get caught up in all of its programs, and start to believe the its own hype. This happened to the Catholic Church in medieval times. It became extremely rich and powerful, but what did it do for the poor people? More tithe, selling of indulgences. Other churches have gone the same way, and it is very prevalent in the large independent churches.
I just finished reading The Robe, a book that I read many years ago. Here is an interesting observation found in its pages.
“The Christian afoot is a formidable fellow–but–when he becomes prosperous enough to ride a horse–…–a Christian on horseback will be just like any other man on horseback! This Jesus army will have to travel on foot–if it expects to accomplish anything!”
When the church becomes just like everyone else it will cease to be the influence for which it was intended. First, it was to proclaim and spread the Gospel, then it is was to make disciples. Most often, if a church and/or pastor, gets too big for their britches the influence upon society is either not as great or gone altogether. Salt and light, not compromising and acting just like society.
I’m sure some of you must have made resolutions for the year. I know some of them were for better health, eating right, losing weight, exercising, etc., and these are good and fine resolutions. There are some other good ones, such as reading more, reading classics, keeping a journal. In other words, things for self-improvement.
But look at this verse:
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
–2 Corinthians 5:10 (KJV)
Only the things done for Jesus will last for eternity. With that in mind, look again at your resolutions. Or if you prefer, inventory your life. In fact, this is something that should be a regular occurrence. Rick Renner gives five questions that we should use when conducting a inventory of our lives. Check them out and see how you answer.
1) What do I give to God financially?
2) What are my spending habits like; how do they reflect my character?
3) What am I doing with my time?
4) Whom am I serving with my talents?
5) What do I spend my time praying about?