Welcome to the conclusion of my book, The Generous Soul. If you are late to this project you can find all the preceding chapters at this link. The Generous Soul is free for you to read or reference in teaching, but not to print or download in any format. Note that footnote references appear as full sized numerals in the text rather than superscripts.
I especially think the appendix is good if I may pat myself on the back. The issue of poverty is always with us, to play off the words of Jesus, so it is important to think through whether poverty is inherently more spiritual than wealth. That subject is tackled in the appendix.
Christmas every day
“And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.”
1 John 5:11 (NKJV)
“Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift.”
2 Corinthians 9:15 (KJV)
“For God so loved the world that He gave.” Thus begins the most well-known, most oft-quoted verse in the entire Bible.181 No exploration of giving, even an introductory one, would be complete without mulling over what it meant for God to give. It probably is not too great a stretch to label God the first missional giver, if His giving is measured by His love and by the cost. He loved enough to give His Son to save those who were unlovely, unloving, and unlovable. If, in the course of reading this book, you have come to realize the empty, vain nature of trusting things, and, if you are thinking that Jesus is your only hope for eternity, this chapter was written with you in mind.
Giving was at the center of God’s plan in eternity before there was a need for a plan in time. The Bible says that Jesus was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.182 We not only find in Scripture that it was God’s pleasure to give the Kingdom to His children, but also for Him to give Jesus, so the adoption of those children could be possible.183 The letter to the Romans demonstrates that all things God gives us are the result of the sacrificial death of Christ: “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”184 There is no blessing, which God originally intended for humanity, that we have not received (or will not receive) in Jesus Christ.
The agnus dei
Scripture says in 2 Corinthians, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (8:9; NIV). The poverty attributed to Christ is the same word as the Macedonian’s poverty described earlier in the passage. Jesus left His Father’s side, He left His throne, He left His glory. He indeed stepped into poverty that we might experience His riches. Each divinity-dishonoring act that Jesus humbly endured contributed to the perfection of His sacrifice; a sacrifice on my behalf and yours. Each temptation He overcame further defeated the power of Satan—whose power was ultimately destroyed at the cross—allowing us to live in freedom from the fear of death and the bondage of sin. His faithful obedience to the commandments of God released me from the curse of a law I could never keep.
None of this would be possible—freedom from sin and condemnation, eternal life, reconciliation to God, salvation—had God not first given. This is the joy of the gospel: you and I can be brought into a harmonious relationship with God by the indescribable gift of God.
Setting things to rights
It does not take an intellectual giant to discern that things are problematic in this world. Something is rotten and it is not only in Denmark. Even a cursory glance of news headlines reveals murder, rape, child abuse, environmental disaster, economic abuse, genocide, financial collapse, and on it goes every single day. Only the most hopeful of optimists (may I say “insanely hopeful”?) could think that things are on some type of upward trajectory. Even within the heart of the hardest skeptic beats the idea that somehow this world is way off track (in fact, this very argument is often used to dispute God’s existence). Yet, only with the Good News of Jesus Christ do we find the transformative power of God in the midst of all this calamity.
It is through Jesus Christ that our dead spirits are brought back to life, it is through Jesus Christ that the spiritually poor are made rich, that the wayward become children, that enemies are turned into friends, that hell is exchanged for heaven, that vanity is traded for hope, insecurity for peace, hate for love, and fear for power. Receiving Jesus Christ is the biggest no-brainer in the history of no-brainers. Our salvation would be utterly impossible were it not for the gift of Jesus Christ; utterly impossible, except that with God all things are possible.
Jesus Christ is indeed the only way to be reconciled to the God of creation. The claim of His own mouth is “No one comes to the Father except through Me.” This is no small thing; in fact, it is the biggest thing in the time and eternity. Jesus sets Himself up as the only gateway to eternal life, the only way to a full life here and the only way to know the One who made us.
The scripture says, “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift-not from works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8, 9; HCSB). Faith, is not only necessary for our financial obedience, but for entering God’s family initially. The rich young man we saw in chapter three rejected Christ, not because he was ignorant of what lie ahead, but because of what lie between. He would have known heaven was ahead of him, but he would not live without his stuff between his encounter with Christ and his eternal reward. He missed the certainty of treasures in heaven because of the uncertainty of following Christ. But, God can be trusted! And He can be trusted for both time and eternity.
The gift of eternal life is just that: a gift. Early believers in Rome received this truth, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”186 Eternal life is not earned by what we do for God; it is received because of what Jesus did for us. If, as you read this book, it became clear that you do not have eternal life, and if you are willing to turn from your sins and receive Jesus Christ, you can be reconciled to God, become a co-heir with Christ, and a participant in God’s mission. It is to this end that I pray.
holier than thou:
is poverty more spiritual than wealth?
One of the most admired Christians since the ascension of Christ must be Giovanni de Pietro de Bernardone. He was born in the twelfth century, at a time when the dominant church in Europe was Roman Catholic. The son of a wealthy businessman who stood to receive a large inheritance, Giovanni was nonetheless restless and, like many modern warriors, longed to be a knight. Being a knight in feudal Europe was a little like being a plastic surgeon in Hollywood: no lack of opportunity to ply the trade. Unfortunately for Giovanni, style did not win out over substance, and his top-of-the-line knightly apparel was not enough to prevent his capture during his first crusade. Subsequent imprisonment saw him languish for a year waiting for Daddy to pay his ransom.
A second foray into battle ended when he had a vision of God speaking to him. The Catholic Church during this time was embroiled in as many scandals as had ever plagued it. One writer explained, “The church was hemorrhaging credibility; it was seen as hypocritical, untrustworthy, and irrelevant. Some people even wondered if it would survive. Clergy were at the center of all kinds of sexual scandals. It had commercialized Jesus, selling pardons, ecclesiastical offices, and relics…Popular songs ridiculing the church and clergy could be heard all over Europe…The church had also become dangerously entangled in the world of power-politics and war.”187 Upon returning home, Giovanni went to a dilapidated chapel in San Damiano. It was quite literally falling apart with its walls cracked and roof caved in. While praying, he heard a voice telling him, “Go and repair My house. You see it is falling down.”
Convinced he had heard from God, the young heir began raising funds to repair the chapel. He stole valuable fabric from his rich, merchant father, selling it (and Dad’s horse) to help pay for the chapel reconstruction. When his father found out, he was understandably furious and brought his son before the local bishop to be punished for his thieving ways. The entire town turned out to see what would happen to the young man. In the midst of his tirade before the bishop, Giovanni’s father turned to see that his thieving son had quietly stripped off all his clothes and was standing stark naked and alone.
Giovanni walked over to his father, placing all his clothes at his feet along with the money he had received for selling the cloth and the horse. He said, “Until today, I always have called Pietro di Barnadone my father. From this day forward, I have only one father, my Father in heaven.” So moved was the bishop that he, with the town of Assisi looking on, draped his own robe around the young St. Francis, walking him away from his old life and into the new.188
Each time I read the story of St. Francis of Assisi I am struck by the depth of his repentance in the showdown with his father. While I’m not a defender of all he taught and did (and I’m not looking to go hear any nude preachers anytime soon), Francis’ clear obedience to Matthew 10:37 always rattles my teeth. And, I’m not alone. St. Francis remains the hero of many, not the least of these was one of my heroes, the late Rich Mullins.
The life of Francis, who renounced his wealth and position, the life of a woman like Mother Teresa among the lepers of Calcutta—like anyone who has ever chosen a vow of poverty begs the question: Is a life of poverty to be desired? Is it intrinsically more holy than being prosperous?
Though there are warnings to the wealthy and though the poor are known for not having many of the same anxieties as the rich, the Scripture does not seem to indicate that being poor is holier than affluence, nor that it is necessarily more desirable. When the prodigal son had wasted all his money on a sin-saturated binge, he was left in a miserable state of poverty, but this state of affairs was not better than his wealthy father who waited expectantly for his return. In fact, it was as much poverty of soul as of finances that led him to repentance. The Bible says that people do not despise a man who steals bread to eat when he is hungry, yet warns that, if caught, he will still be found guilty under the law.189 It also warns that poor people may be deserted by their friends,190 were not to be shown any favoritism in legal matters,191 can be victims of destruction,192 and can be dishonored even in church.193 Various rabbis taught that being poor was worse than all the plagues on Egypt put together, worse than all other miseries and the worst affliction a human could experience.194 And a sweeping study commissioned by the World Bank found that those in low-income countries describe themselves with words like, “shame,” “humiliation,” “garbage,” “unhappy,” “inferior,” and “helpless.”195
The poor are also not immune from covetousness. The same sin that vexes the wealthy—causing them to live for more stuff—can vex the poor, wanting to live for some stuff. Materialism does not require an abundance of materials to be the object of worship. In his highly regarded book, The Spirit of the Disciplines, Dallas Willard makes this observation, “The percentage of those in bondage to wealth is no greater among the rich than among the poor. It is not money or gain, but the love of it, that is said by Paul to be the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10), and none love it more desperately and unrealistically than those without it”(emphasis in original).196
There are in the world today those who choose to be less well off, intentionally shunning a better class of living, often for the purpose of reaching the poor who might otherwise be marginalized or ignored. In Manila, The Philippines, there is a gigantic garbage dump named “Payatas” which is so large that people actually live at the edges in shanties (some actually in the dumps) and sustain their existence as scavengers amid the refuse.197 A typhoon in 2000 precipitated the collapse of a seven-story pile of rubbish at one of these dumps killing more than two hundred people.198 I once read of a missionary who owned almost nothing, living on the trash pile leading a church for the squatters and scavengers.
While on a learning trip to Campo Grande, Brazil, I met another man who was poor for the sake of the gospel. I first noticed this “hippie” sitting on the steps of the church beside a little display of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings he had made from wire, thread, and beads. As we entered the building, the pastor of the church nodded back toward him and said, “You see that hippie? He’s a member of our church!” I later found out that he received Christ while living the carefree hippie life. At the time of my trip, “the hippie” was planning to attend Bible college so he would be better prepared to reach those in the hippie subculture; however, he was not planning to leave it. He said, “If I don’t stay and reach ‘my people,’ who will?” Instead of cutting his hair, getting a better paying job, and getting on a church staff somewhere, he chose poverty as the means of reaching other hippies.
These and others provide living answers to John Stott’s musing, “Should we not continue to simplify our own economic lifestyle, not because we imagine that this will solve the problem, but because it will enable us personally to share more and to express appropriately our sense of compassionate solidarity with the poor?”199
Thankfully (for those with wealth), Kingdom influence is not limited to the poor. I am familiar with a man, wealthy in real estate, who has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to mission work over just the last few years. The foundation started from Christian businessman Arthur S. DeMoss’ estate has given away millions over the years. Christian millionaire and missional giver, R.G. LeTourneau, gave away 90 percent of what he made to Kingdom and philanthropic causes and lived on the remaining 10 percent. Jesus did not say it was impossible for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of heaven, only that it was difficult.
The very fact that both Old and New Testaments have so much direction about helping the poor assumes that there will be some people who are able to do it! If everyone were poor, who would help the poor? There is an expectation in Scripture that some people will have wealth; they are not castigated for such, only warned against its dangers and encouraged toward righteous use of it. Stott reminds us that Jesus does not preclude possessions, savings, or even wealth. “What Jesus forbids is the selfish accumulation of goods; extravagant and luxurious living; the hardheartedness which does not feel the colossal need of the world’s underprivileged people; the foolish fantasy that a person’s life consists in the abundance of his possessions; and the materialism which tethers our hearts to the earth.”200
Poverty is not more holy than wealth, and it is not necessarily more to be desired. There are advantages and disadvantages to each position. If the poverty is neither due to laziness nor the wealth due to greed or unethical business practices, the follower of Christ can be assured that God can be glorified by holy living in either situation.
1. http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/1760516, accessed July 26, 2010
2. Driscoll, Mark and Breshears Gerry. Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010), 374.
3. Swindoll, Charles R. and Zuck, Roy B. Understanding Christian Theology. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2003), 898.
4. Brady, Diane and Palmeri, Christopher. “The Pet Economy,” http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_32/b4045001.htm, accessed July 28, 2010
6. http://thewaterproject.org/digging-wells-in-africa-and-india-how-it-works.asp, accessed July 28, 2010
7. The Neuticles website states that more than $229,750,000 been spent on Neuticles through July 2010.
part 1 section page
8. Merrill, Eugene. Everlasting Dominion: A Theology of the Old Testament. (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 2006),130.
9. Tozer, A.W. The Pursuit of God. (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1993), 22.
10. “Homes Lost to Foreclosure On Track For 1M in 2010,” http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/07/15/ap/business/main6679691.shtml?tag=mncol;lst;2, accessed July 28, 2010.
11. Hemphill, Ken. Making Change: A Transformational Guide to Christian Money Management. (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman, 2006), 3.
12. Psalm 14:1 for instance.
13. The point of this paragraph is not to argue over how God created the universe, i.e., Day-Age, Seven Day, or Gap theories. I only want to establish that if God did not create the universe, He has no ownership claim to it. If He did create it, by whatever method He chose, then He is owner.
14. Allen, Paddy. ‘Monster star’: R126a1 compared to our solar system,” http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/interactive/2010/jul/21/monster-star-r136a1-sun-planets, accessed July 29, 2010.
15. Psalm 50:10
16. Haggai 2:8
17. Quoted in Kelly, J.N.D. Early Christian Doctrines. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2004), 86.
18. Deuteronomy 8:16-18, NASB. While this reminder is clearly given to Israel as a sustained promise made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, even the strictest Dispensationalist must admit God’s blessing of the power and wisdom to create wealth is true regarding even believing Gentiles in the Church Age. If not, we have a situation in which humanity has become wealth creators and, therefore, have an ownership claim to stake. This would be in contradiction to the clear tenor of the scriptural whole.
19. Blaise Pascal. Penses (Krailsheimer, A.J., trans.) (New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1966,) 179.
20. http://www3.telus.net/st_simons/nsnews019.html See also, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._G._LeTourneau , http://www.letu.edu/about_LU/museum/Museum_Online/index.html, all accessed August 13, 2010.
21. Matthew 18:23-35
22. Luke 16:1-8
23. Matthew 21:28-32
24. Matthew 24:42-51, Mark 13:34-37, Luke 12:35-48
25. Matthew 25:14-30, Luke 19:12-27
26. Matthew 5:3
27. Tozer, A.W., The Pursuit of God, 23.
28. Luther, Martin. The Works of Luther, quoted in Geisler, Norman. Systematic Theology, Vol. Two. (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2003), 531. Emphasis mine. Scripture quote John 5:17, ESV.
29. Oden, Thomas C. The Living Word. (Peabody, MA: Prince Press, 2001), 287, 288.
30. Strong, Augustus H. Systematic Theology. (Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press, 1906), 410, 411.
31. Merrill, Eugene. Everlasting Dominion: A Theology of the Old Testament, 129. Emphasis mine.
32. Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be) was written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. It was first performed by Doris Day in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956).
33. “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” Psalm 115:3 (NASB)
34. See 1 Kings 18.
35. See Exodus 14.
36. Joshua 10:12, 13
37. 2 Kings 19:32-37
38. John 6:1-14
39. Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol, The Chimes and Crickets on the Hearth. (New York, NY: Barnes and Noble Classics, 2004), 70.
40. Ibid, 71.
41. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hetty_Green, accessed July 26, 2010.
42. Keller, Tim. Counterfeit Gods. (New York, NY: Dutton, 2009), 51.
43. Nee, Watchman. Love Not The World. (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, and Fort Washington, PA: Christian Literature Crusade, 1978), 71.
44. Groeshel, Craig. The Christian Atheist. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 180.
45. Ibid, 181
46. Psalm 115:4-8
47. Colossians 3:5
48. This John R.W. Stott quote came from my sermon notes, which were not footnoted. The original source is unknown to me.
49. http://www.bing.com/Dictionary/search?q=define+materialism&FORM=DTPDIA, accessed August 10, 2010.
50. http://atheism.about.com/od/philosophyschoolssystems/p/materialism.htm, accessed August 10, 2010
51. http://www.bing.com/Dictionary/search?q=naturalism&go=&form=QB, accessed August 10, 2010.
52. Brown, Harold O. J. The Sensate Culture. (Dallas, TX: Word Publishing, 1996), 9.
53. Ibid, 10
54. Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing, 2000), 267.
55. See Romans 1:22-25
56. This phrase is a play on the chorus of “The Stand,” written by Joel Houston, recorded by Hillsong United. Full lyrics can be found at http://artists.letssingit.com/artist-j3gh2sb, accessed Aug 7, 2010.
57. Hagopian, D., Demar, G., and Karchmer, J. (Producers), & Doane, D. (Director). (2009). Collision: Christopher Hitchens vs Douglas Wilson [Documentary-DVD]. United States: Crux Pictures/Gorilla Poet.
58. Luke 18:18-25
59. See the Appendix, Holier Than Thou: Is poverty more spiritual than wealth?
60. Levitt, Steven D. and Dubner, Stephen J., Freakonomics. (New York, NY: William Morrow, 2006), 11. Emphasis in original.
61. Mark 10:28
62. “How The Average U. S. Consumer Spends Their Paycheck,” eds. http://www.visualeconomics.com/how-the-average-us-consumer-spends-their-paycheck/, accessed July 28, 2010
63. Giving USA, a publication of Giving USA Foundation, researched and written by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University (2009).
64. Piper, John. Future Grace. (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Books, 1998), 324.
65. I do not have the original source of this quote, but found it here: http://www.lifeprinciples.net/SuccessatLife.html, accessed August 5, 2010.
66. See Ephesians 5 and James 4:3, 4
67. Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. The Cost of Discipleship, Rev. Ed. (New York, NY: Macmillian Publishing, 1975), 318
68. Tozer, A.W., The Pursuit of God, 22. Emphasis mine.
part two section page
69. Nee, Watchman. A Table in the Wilderness. (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, and Fort Washington, PA: Christian Literature Crusade, 1987), July 4 devotional (no page number).
70. Any of these biographies are recommended reading. The story of the Huaorani people’s engagements with the gospel can be read in Through Gates of Splendor, by Elizabeth Elliot and watched in the movie, The End of the Spear.
71. Matthew 28:18-20. See also, Mark 16:15, Luke 24:46-49, John 20:21, Acts 1:8
72. John 20:21
73. John 1:6
74. In his book Exiles (Hendrickson Publishers, 2006), Michael Frost uses the similar phrase, “host empire.”
75. Rankin, Jerry. Spiritual Warfare. (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2010), 98.
76. Ibid, 100, 101.
77. Luke 12:48, author’s paraphrase.
78. “To satisfy the world’s sanitation and food requirements would cost only US$13B, about what the people of the United States and the EU spend on perfume each year.” http://library.thinkquest.org/C002291/high/present/stats.htm, accessed August 17, 2010.
79. Colossians 3:2, NKJV
80. Matthew 6:19, NKJV
81. 2 Corinthians 5:20, ESV
82. Matthew 6:34, ESV
83. Klein, Maury. The Change Makers. (New York, NY: Macmillan, 2004), 57.
84. Adapted from Matthew 25:14-30 and Luke 19:12-27
85. Luke 16:10-12
86. 1 Corinthians. 4:2
87. Edersheim, Alfred. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Vol. 2. (New York, NY: Longmans, Greene and Co., 1907), 460.
88. McLaren, Brian, Sweet, Len and Haselmayer, Jerry. A is for Abductive: The Language of the Emerging Church. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003), 107.
89. Mark 12:41ff, Luke 21:1-4
90. Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, 388.
91. Alcorn, Money, Possessions and Eternity. (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2003), 6, 7.
92. Isaiah 9:17, 10:2, Jeremiah 49:11, Zechariah 7:10, Malachi 3:5
93. You really should do some research on this, but be prepared for a shock. The name seems to purposefully obscure the obscenity of their worship. I don’t recommend an in depth discussion about it in the Middle School Boys Sunday School class.
94. http://www.biblemap.org/#Sidon, http://www.biblemap.org/#Zarephath, both accessed August 1, 2010. This event is used by Jesus in Luke 4:26 as an example of God’s kingdom expanding beyond the Jews, where were rejecting it, to the Gentiles, who would receive God’s word as the Sidonian widow did.
95. 1 Kings 17:12, ESV
96. 1 Kings 17:14, ESV
97. http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/1-kings/17.html, accessed August 1, 2010.
98. http://library.thinkquest.org/C002291/high/present/stats.htm., accessed August 4, 2010. An estimated 30 million people died in the Great Famine of China between 1958-1961while 750k-1.5M people died in the Irish Potato Famine of 1845-1851.
99. 1 Kings 17:17ff
100. I modified the phrase “with a whirlwind to fuel my chariot of fire” from Rich Mullins’ song, Elijah.
101. Nelson, David P., A Theology for the Church (Danny Akin, ed.). (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2007), 268.
102. Cumbers, Frank, ed. Daily Readings from W. E. Sangster. (Westwood, NJ: Fleming H. Revell, 1966), 214
103. See 2 Chronicles 16:9
104. 2 Corinthians 8:6, 16
105. Cole, Neil. Church 3.0. (San Francisco, CA: Josey-Bass, 2010), 248.
106. 2 Corinthians 8:1
107. 2 Corinthians 8:2
108. twitter.com, CSLewisDaily Twitter feed, accessed July 29, 2010.
109. Acts 11:27, 28
110. Blomberg, Craig. From Pentecost to Patmos. (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2006), 372.
111. 2 Corinthians 8:3
112. 2 Corinthians 8:4, 9:7
113. 2 Corinthians 8:4
114. Blomberg, From Pentecost to Patmos, 46.
115. Ibid, 221. Blomberg theorizes that Paul’s offering was also about bridging the gap between the Gentile and Jewish believers as about meeting physical needs. He notes, “Scholars have often speculated that Paul placed a special importance on this offering because he hoped to show the more conservative Jewish churches in Israel that the Gentile believers in the Diaspora recognized the debt they owed to the ‘mother church.’”
116. 2 Corinthians 8:5
117. 2 Corinthians 8:8, 24
118. Revelation. 3:15, 16
119. 1 John 2:15, 16
120. 2 Corinthians 9:6
121. Hemphill, Making Change, 138.
122. Psalm 112:9 is from the ESV as is 2 Corinthians 9:10
123. 2 Corinthians 9:11, ESV, emphasis mine.
124. 2 Corinthians 9:8
125. Original in my files.
126. Batterson, Mark. Wild Goose Chase. (Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Books, 2008), 11.
127. 2 Corinthians 9:13
128. Matthew. 13:3-9, Mark 4:3-9, Luke 8:5-8
129. Mark 4:19, NKJV
130. Luke 12:13-21
131. Psalm 39:5, 39:11, 62:9; James 4:14
132. Luke 12:21
133. See also Romans 2:5, 1 Corinthians 16:2 and 2 Peter 3:7.
134. This concept has been popularized recently by Dave Ramsey.
135. Burkett, Larry. The Word on Finances. (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1994), 180.
136. Rankin, Spiritual Warfare, 86, 87.
137. By the middle of 2009, bankruptcy filings in the U.S. had reached a staggering 6,020 a day. http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/2009-06-03-bankruptcy-filings-unemployment_N.htm, accessed July 29, 2010
For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010, consumer bankruptcies were up 21 percent over the previous year, http://www.suntimes.com/business/2615694,CST-NWS-BANKRUPT19.article, accessed July 29, 2010.
138. Nouwen, Henri J.M. The Only Necessary Thing. (Greer, Wendy Wilson (ed.). (New York, NY: Crossroad Publishing, 1999), 82.
139. Luke 6:40, NIV
140. 2 Corinthians 9:5
141. Whitney, Donald S. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. (Colorado Springs, CO: Navpress, 1991), 133.
142. For instance, Proverbs 16:9, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (ESV) and Psalm 37:23, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way.” (NKJV).
143. Alcorn, Money, Possessions and Eternity, 199.
144. Swindoll, Charles. Intimacy With The Almighty. (Dallas, TX: Word Publishing, 1996), 28.
145. Proverbs 3:9, 10
146. Personal correspondence on file.
147. Hebrews 11:6, HCSB
148. Romans 14:23 (NKJV)
149. Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)
150. My memory is that she was not working outside the home during that time, but it may be incorrect. Regardless, he was the primary breadwinner.
151. 2 Corinthians 8:14, author’s paraphrase.
152. I modified this from Merriam-Webster to reflect a biblical perspective.
153. Matthew 8:20
154. Philippians 4:11. Interestingly, the Greek word that Paul uses to describe his ‘need,’ is hysteresis, the same word used in Mark 12:44 to described the poverty of the widow who gave two coins.
155. Luke 16:11
156. Phillips, David. Holy Rewired: Science, the Gospel, and the Journey Toward Wholeness. (Smyrna, DE: Missional Press, 2010), 49.
157. Exodus 2:6
158. 1 Kings 3:26
159. Jeremiah 12:15
160. See for instance Matthew 14:14, 15:32, 20:34, Mark 1:41, 5:19, 9:22.
161. Henry, Carl F. H., The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Co., 1947), 2.
162. http://www.forbes.com/lists/2010/10/billionaires-2010_The-Worlds-Billionaires_Rank.html, accessed August 13, 2010. Carvalho-Heineken’s wealth stood at $7B at the time of the Forbes 400 list.
163. Ibid, forbes.com, Forbes 400 list.
164. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/business/wal-mart/sam-walton.html, accessed August 13, 2010.
165. forbes.com, Forbes 400 list.
166. Ephesians 1:14
167. Ephesians 1:18
168. Ephesians 5:5, NKJV
169. Colossians 3:24 (HCSB)
170. Romans 8:17, Galatians 4:1, Hebrews 6:17-20
171. Alcorn, Randy. The Treasure Principle. (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Books, 2001), 38.
172. James 1:17
173. 1 Timothy 6:17
174. John 17:3
175. 2 Corinthians 6:10, NKJV
176. Philippians 4:17, NASB
177. Luke 6:34-36, NIV
178. While this is not the original source of this statement from Chesterton, it can be found here: http://francesblogg.blogspot.com/2006/04/what-is-beggar.html
179. Alcorn, The Treasure Principle, 36, 37 and “No Reserves. No Retreats. No Regrets. William Borden’s Life” http://home.snu.edu/~HCULBERT/regret.htm, accessed August 13, 2010.
180. Luke 12:32, KJV
181. John 3:16
182. Revelation 13:8
183. Romans 8:15
184. Romans 8:32, NKJV
185. John 10:18
186. Romans 6:23, KJV
187. Cron, Ian Morgan. Chasing Francis. (Colorado Springs, CO: Navpress, 2006), 45, 46.
188. This section was adapted from Cron, Chasing Francis, 50-52.
189. Proverbs 6:30, 31
190. Proverbs 19:4
191. Leviticus 19:15
192. Proverbs 10:15
193. James 2:2-6
194. Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah Vol. 2, 342, note 2.
195. Corbett, Steve and Fikkert, Brian. When Helping Hurts. (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009), 52.
196. Willard, Dallas. The Spirit of the Disciplines. (New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988), 199. The chapter entitled “Is Poverty Spiritual?” is worth the price of the book.
197. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/21/world/asia/21iht-city7.1790859.html, accessed August 12, 2010 and http://www.pbase.com/bobbyw/payatas_dump, accessed August 12, 2010
199. Stott, John R. W. The Contemporary Christian. (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1992), 193.
200. This quote from John R.W. Stott was taken from my sermon notes, which were not footnoted. As a result the original source is unknown to me.