Friday, November 2, 2012

Jesus' Instructions Concerning "Share the Wealth"

Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

Today there is much talk about how people who have been greatly blessed should “share your wealth” with those who are less fortunate. Many Christians have been convinced this is their duty. I believe all Christians should and would gladly share their wealth with those who are mentally or physically incapable of helping themselves. If not for the grace of God, we could all be in that position. But what does God really say about sharing the wealth so all can be equal?

Using The Message version, in the third chapter of Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, he tells the new Christians in verse 13, “Friends, don’t slack off in doing your duty.” Many have interpreted this command to say a Christian’s duty is to help everyone.

If you go back to verse 10, Paul says, “Don’t you remember the rule we had when we lived with you? “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.” And now we’re getting reports that a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings are taking advantage of you.”

Paul’s next instruction to these Christians says “This must not be tolerated. We command them to get to work immediately—no excuses, no arguments—and earn their own keep.”

If you keep going up to verse 6, you can read Paul’s specific orders, “Our orders—backed up by the Master, Jesus—are to refuse to have anything to do with those among you who are lazy and refuse to work the way we taught you. Don’t permit them to freeload on the rest. We showed you how to pull your weight when we were with you, so get on with it. We didn’t sit around on our hands expecting others to take care of us. In fact, we worked our fingers to the bone, up half the night moonlighting so you wouldn’t be burdened with taking care of us. And it wasn’t because we didn’t have a right to your support; we did. We simply wanted to provide an example of diligence, hoping it would prove contagious.”

How has our government convinced so many hard-working Christians that it is their duty to “share their wealth” with the good-for-nothings among us who refuse to work? This thinking certainly did not come form God’s word. Instead God tells us that if we tolerate such behavior, we encourage people to become slothful. In I Thessalonians 4:12, Paul says, “We want you living in a way that will command the respect of outsiders, not lying around sponging off your friends.”

Ever since the beginning of the Christian church, God has never expected His children to share their hard-earned blessings to support able-bodied men who simply “choose” to not work but lie around sponging off others.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Jesus Redeemed at the Temple

This week Joseph and Mary would take Jesus to the beautiful temple to fulfill the requirement of the Redemption Ceremony. The first born son of every Jewish family belonged to God. The baby must be presented at the Gate of the Firstborn in the Court of Men in the temple. The requirement for this sacrifice was an unblemished lamb. Mary and Joseph offered two doves. Why? That is all they could afford. They held a king, but could only afford the sacrifice of the poor.
God doesn't care about the value of the sacrifice. He only cares that the commandment is obeyed.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Jesus My Son: Mary's Journal of Jesus' Ministry

My second book, Jesus My Son: Mary's Journal of Jesus' Ministry has been printed. The approval copy has been sent, but I have not received it yet. No matter how many books you write, there is an excitment when each one is published. It is almost like having a baby, but the pain doesn't come until long after it is published. Writing this book has been a very rewarding experience for me. I have learned so much about the three and one-half years Jesus walked upon the earth performing miracles and teaching parables. As Mary talks to the people who receive these miracles, she also learns much about her son and the message he is preaching. I have begun the third of the series. This will be the most difficult to write...because we all know the ending. But do we know it through Mary's eyes. What did she think when she saw Judas come down the stairs and leave the house where Jesus and his followers were observing this celebration. How did she feel when the soldiers took Jesus away? She didn't hear any of the conversation or see the betrayal kiss. What did she think happened? Give me some ideas and I will give you credit in my next book.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Jesus is Circumcised

On the eighth day Mary's son was circumcised and given the name Jesus. Matthew 1:25
Around this time of year Jesus was circumcised and given a name. This name was given to Mary by the angel Gabriel when he first spoke to Mary. What if Mary had disobeyed and given her son another name? That couldn't happen because Mary obeyed unconditionally, but do you ever think "What if?"
Where were they staying when Jesus was circumcised? Did they have enough money to return home before they had to come back 30 days later to offer Jesus in the Gate of the Firstborn for the Redemption Ceremony? They could have decided to stay in Bethlehem. If so, were they still in the cave that was the stable where Jesus was born?
Who performed the circumcision? It was not unusual for the father to circumcise his son. They could have had a priest, but Joseph probably would have assisted. Jesus suffered from that pain just as your children suffer today. Mary probably cried when he cried--just as mothers do today.
Every pain, trial, temptation we encounter today was encountered by Mary and Jesus those many years ago. He is such a loving savior because He knows our pains. He experienced them just like we do today. He can help us through rough times because He knows firsthand how we feel. All we have to do is ask.