How to Be Rich

What Does The Bible Say About Riches and Wealth?

Gary Keith
Jan 9, 2022    41m
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What does the Bible say about riches and wealth? This message examines scripture from First Timothy chapter 6 to help us understand how to be rich graciously and generously. When we learn that the money that God has given us can be used both to make us happy and to make an eternal difference in people's lives, we can live a blessed life. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Life Bible - How to Be Rich
Intro: [00:00:00] Hey, there. Thanks so much for checking out one of our messages here at Life Bible Fellowship Church. And we know there are two great ways you can connect with us. You can visit our website at LBF.church to learn more about all of our ministries and what we believe. And also, you can subscribe to us on YouTube to make sure that you don't miss one of our future videos.

Gary Keith: [00:00:18] On Wednesday of this week, two people became multi-millionaires, they split over six hundred million by winning the Powerball. Well, let's not complain about them having to split that, because six hundred by two is three hundred million dollars they were taking home. Now I don't care what planet you're on, three hundred million dollars is a lot of money, would you agree? It is, I can think of a lot of good things I could do with three hundred million dollars. It's the kind of money really that can change your life. It's the kind of money that means you never probably have to worry about anything money-related again if you do it well. It's the kind of money that allows you to buy whatever you want, whenever you want, as often as you want, it's changing your life. That sounds pretty good. I don't know if you ever dreamed about money like that, I know I have, true confessions.

Gary Keith: [00:01:15] But let me ask you a question, what would you do with three hundred million dollars if it was given to you? Travel? Yeah, let's travel. Buy a bigger house, live it up, live it up lavishly, maybe go shopping, duh, go shopping. You know, pay off your bills, maybe buy a few cars, some boats, maybe even a jet plane to fly wherever you want to go. I mean, hopefully, it gives some to the church. What would you do with three hundred million dollars?

Gary Keith: [00:01:46] Well, today I want to talk with you, and quite frankly, me as well, as I've been working on this message about how to be rich, how to live as a rich person. And you may ask, why are we talking about this, I didn't win the three hundred million dollars, Ok? Well, God has a lot to say about money. I don't know if you know this, but in the Bible, there are about five hundred verses on prayer, there's less than five hundred on faith, there's about twenty-three hundred verses on money and possessions. That says something to me, I hope it says something to you. Jesus also said a lot about money, sixteen out of the thirty-eight parables, nearly half, were about money and possessions or how to handle money. And in the gospels alone, an amazing one out of every ten verses, about two hundred and eighty-eight in all, deal directly with the subject of money. So from my vantage point, clearly this is a topic we should talk about as it relates to what it means to be a passionate pursuer of life in Jesus.

Gary Keith: [00:02:54] But, before we go any further, I just got to pause because talking about money in church, it actually doesn't happen to often around here, but it can be kind of uncomfortable. Maybe some of you already feeling a little uncomfortable, you're going well, maybe you're a little nervous, a little anxious, what's Gary going to ask me to do? What's he going to ask me to give? Maybe you're already putting up some defenses, you know, ready to maybe say, well, I'll just look at my cell phone for the next half hour, I'll do that. I don't know, maybe you maybe that's because you've had this experience involving giving money at a at a church setting and you just don't want to hear about it anymore, I don't see the connection.

Gary Keith: [00:03:30] Listen, I want you to know that my goal this morning is not to get you to give more because our church is in some kind of money crisis, we are not in a money crisis here at LPF, and I'm not going to use guilt to motivate you to give. If you've been here a while, you know that our basis for giving is even not about the tithe that we learn about in the Old Testament, I'm not going to tell you that as part of being of this church family, you better give 10 percent of everything you have to this church, I'm not going to tell you that. Why? Because our approach to giving is about different things, it's about the example of the first century Christians we find reading about in Second Corinthians Chapter 8 and 9, it's about growing in generosity. And that generosity is connected to the truth that God has been generous with us, so out of our love for him, we give back to him in generous ways. It's going to be about going to the Lord and prayer, and with the trust in God responding to what the Holy Spirit leads you to give, it's about being obedient. Now that could be 5 percent of your income, could be 10, could be more, 50 percent, I'm not even going to tell you whether it's gross or whether it's after, I'm not going to tell you any of that stuff. The truth is, probably whatever we give to God, it's based on a couple of things. It could be based on our level of trust in God, which we'll talk about today. It could be based on our past experience, maybe we've had a bad experience in a different setting about talking about giving. Maybe it's based on the ups and downs of our income. But let me tell you that now for over 50 years, this is how our church has approached giving, looking at Second Corinthians Chapter 8 and 9, because when people are faithful to trust God and do what he leads them to do, this church will have all the money it needs to make a gospel difference in our community and in our world.

Gary Keith: [00:05:29] And so if this happens to be your first Sunday, or maybe you're still been here a few Sundays and you're checking this out, maybe you've been in church where they made you feel guilty when it comes to giving, I hope that what I have to say in the next few minutes will give you a different feeling about how money will be talked about today and in the future in this church.

Gary Keith: [00:05:47] So here's my goal for us this morning, I want to help us, I want to help you, and I want to help me, start thinking differently about our money. I really believe if followers of Jesus can break free from this American mindset about money and embrace a new way of thinking, that not only the money that God has given us can be used to make us happy and provide for our enjoyment in life, it can also be used to make an eternal difference in people's lives. So, yes, we're going to talk about how to be rich, and about how, now you're probably thinking, well, I would sure like to know how to be rich because I don't feel rich at all. Is that you, you don't feel like you're rich at all? I'm still trying to recover from what I lost in 2008, I mean, I've got a mortgage to pay, I've got kids with braces, and I've got car loans, and maybe a wedding to pay for. I mean, I can barely pay my bills, I don't think I'm very rich, so I'd sure like to know how to be rich. Well, when you get rich, I want you to be good at it, OK, because that's what we're going to talk about today.

Gary Keith: [00:06:57] But I also want to challenge your thinking for a minute before we get into the text just about your statement about, you're not rich, if that's what you're thinking this morning, because you see many times we don't realize just how rich we are, because no matter how much we have, there's always someone who has a lot more. It's been proven that no matter how much money we have, we want approximately 10 percent more. So if I have fifty thousand dollars, I want fifty-five. When I get to fifty-five, I want another 10 percent, I want...There's a never-ending thing in this mental thing that happens within us about how much we really need.

Gary Keith: [00:07:36] So just let me give you a new perspective, are you ready for this? You're looking awful serious already. If you earn fifty thousand or more, you're in the top four percent of wage or wage earners in America. So I know that while you don't feel rich, but in fact, if you consider the whole world, you are rich. That's good news, and I want you to start thinking, oh, I am rich. Here's why I can say you are rich; we have many rich people things. What do we have? We have houses with air conditioning, electricity, running water, running water, I said that already, more than one bathroom, multiple TVs, some of you put your children in where? In private schools. Most of us have not one car, multiple cars, some of us have RVs, and boats, and second homes. We pay people to mow our lawns, to clean our pools, to clean our house, maybe even to wash our cars. We have the opportunities to travel around the world, we go on cruises. We have the internet not out there somewhere but in our very homes. Smartphones, probably more than one, probably everyone in your house maybe is close to having a smartphone, even our kids have smartphones, even our kids have cars, and we have retirement plans. Believe it or not, because of that, we're rich, we're rich. And I know you may not feel it, but during these next few minutes, I would ask you just to keep an open mind about just how rich you really are.

Gary Keith: [00:09:12] So with all that said, let's look at how to be good at being rich, just in case you're with me in thinking you are rich. We're going to do that looking at our text today, it was read to us by George just a moment ago. First Timothy chapter 6 verses 17 through 19. And so Paul is writing, let me give you a little context, Paul is writing to Timothy. He's a young pastor, he's being mentored by Paul on how to work with people in a church. And in the verses just before what was read today, Paul talks to Timothy about those who want to be rich, the wannabes, you know, and temptations they fall into by doing all these foolish things to try and be rich, and now it's time for Timothy to learn what to say to those who are in his church who are already rich. Yes, there were rich people in the first century, and they needed to hear what we need to hear, as we consider ourselves to be rich in light of all that is around us.

Gary Keith: [00:10:06] So here's what I hope you will leave with this morning, that as rich people, you will think differently about your financial resources as you live for God. That is my goal, to get you and me to be thinking differently, to start thinking differently about your money, and with that different thinking to start living differently with your money. And so on this passage, I want to talk about three ways that we can learn how to be rich, they'll guide us in this different thinking. The first is found in verse 17, the very beginning of our passage today, let's look at it. It says, "Command..." I've been in the military; I know where a command is. Do you guys know what the command is? A command is not, you can do it if you want to, you can do it if you feel like it, it's really just a mild suggestion about how to live life. No, a command is something he's saying, you do this. "Command those who are rich..." What? "...in this present world not to be arrogant." See, Paul doesn't start out by condemning people for being rich, it's not about how much or how little money you have, having lots of money is not wrong. It's not against God's plan for people to be financially rich, but he does reveal to us that there are added temptations for people who are rich. He was highly concerned that the Christians have the right attitude toward their money, and how they fit in with other people with that money. So Paul identifies something that can happen to rich people, he says don't be arrogant, which means you can probably become arrogant when you're rich, right? That's why he would say this, there is a danger for people who are rich financially to become arrogant. And how does that happen? Well, there's this attitude that can slowly and subtly come over us in this affluent culture that we live in, it's part of what some people have called the influence of affluence. We're influenced by the affluence we have are all around us. We believe we've come to deserve this influence because maybe we've worked hard, or maybe our parents worked hard and gave it to us, and we think that other people should work just as hard as I do if they want to be rich like me. We think somehow, we have attained all of this richness by ourselves, and we're entitled to bask in our affluence. that's what happens. And this can tempt us to think we deserve what we have, then we begin to think that people who have less than us are what? Maybe not as smart, maybe not as hardworking, maybe not as talented and what they do, and so, so bad for them, I'm sorry for them.

Gary Keith: [00:12:57] You know, it's been a few years now, but there was a season of time where here at LBF, we had to have a small group of people who on a Saturday would make a hot meal in this kitchen right here and we take it down to a place in Ontario, that they call Tent City. It was a place near the airport where they had set up this controlled area for people who were in need, homeless people, they'd bring tents, and provide them food, and a shower, not like the showers you probably use, but a shower.

Gary Keith: [00:13:23] And one time there were plenty of us to serve the food, so I decided to leave that area and go sit down with the people at a picnic table where some of them were eating. I happened to sit next to a man who turned out to be about my age, and as we began talking, I found out he graduated the same high school year I did in 1968 from Chaffey High School, we were graduating in the same class. Now, there were nine hundred in our graduating class, so the fact I didn't know him is not a big deal, but we were in the same high school and the same graduating class, and I immediately began to think about where my life was and about how different it was from his life. You know, I began to think, even before he got too much into his story, well, you know, if he just worked hard like I've been working hard for all these years that maybe he'd be in a different place. And as I thought this, I found myself thinking, I think I'm better than him, I think I'm better because I've done the right things to get where I'm at. But as I continued to listen and hear the story, my attitude was changing slowly, I've got to attribute that to God's Spirit working in my heart. Why? Because I heard about his job loss, and then I heard about his inability to get another job. And then I heard as a result of that, he went through a divorce, a very painful, hard divorce, and he lost custody of his kids. And all these things were unfolding that just go, wow, without the grace of God, there would I be, I could be there just as easily as he could. And over those 30 minutes, my attitude kind of went from arrogance, thinking I was better than him, to compassion for how he's in tent city, and he has no hope in his own heart and mind of how he's going to leave there.

Gary Keith: [00:15:08] See, instead of realizing that all we possess is a gift, a true gift from God, it's really easy for us as rich people to develop this attitude of superiority over the poor. But rich people, who think differently, rich people think differently, they think they're not as good as everybody else, they don't think they're better than everybody else, rich people who live for God don't think they're better than everyone else. When you think you're better than people that have less, that's what Paul would call arrogance. And in order to fight arrogance, we've got to do something, we've got to cultivate humility. If we want to know how to be rich, we've got to first learn how to have the heart that God has for all people, especially the poor. As followers of Jesus, there is simply no place for arrogance to be present in our lives. And humility comes when we acknowledge daily, maybe sometimes hourly, that we deserve no better than the poorest citizen of this planet.

Gary Keith: [00:16:18] We cultivate humility when we follow the advice found in Deuteronomy chapter 8 verse 18, look at the screen behind me. It says, "Remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth." I mean, this is a change in thinking, this is a change in perspective, that can only happen when we say no to arrogance, when we kill the belief that says I deserve this. Instead, we come to a place where you say, God, I cannot believe you are so good to me. I don't deserve all of this abundance, but I'm blessed, you blessed me with it. Let me give you thanks, let me have a heart of gratitude, and let me give you the credit Lord for bringing it my way.

Gary Keith: [00:17:04] And so Paul has written to Timothy, saying, tell the people in your church who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant, Paul wants rich followers of Jesus to think differently. So let me ask you a couple of questions. You don't have to raise your hands, you just got to sit there and think and say, OK, God, what are you speaking to me about? Have you ever fallen into that trap of being arrogant like I did? Do you think because you have more than someone else that you're better than they are? Do you find yourself judging people who have less, or maybe you don't even want to be around them, or do they live differently than you, and so you just don't like being close to that? This can happen in all sorts of ways, people who don't drive the same cars as we do, or the same kind of clothes that we wear, people are renting a house because they can't afford buying a house yet, and you've bought a house. People who can't go on vacations with you because it costs too much for the kind of vacation you're going to, and they just can't afford it. Let alone the people out there who are homeless and need some help, they're living on the street. How are we to live as rich people? Not to think we're better than other people?

Gary Keith: [00:18:27] But we're right in the middle of a sentence here, we're not done yet, there are other things. Those who are rich are not only not to be arrogant, let's see what else he says, "Nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment." I read that I go, this is so practical, I mean, most of us probably think, well, if I didn't have to worry about money, things would be great because the money would make all things great, that's where the three hundred million dollars comes in. But Paul is giving those who put their trust in their money a reminder and a warning, he just comes out and says this, he says, don't put your hope in the fact that you have lots of money. And the reason he gives, he says, is because putting your hope in money you will have is really very uncertain, it's unpredictable, you really can't count on it.

Gary Keith: [00:19:20] It's easy for people who have lots of money to think they've got everything covered and don't really need God. We live in one of the wealthiest nations in the world, we have freedoms not found in most other countries, it is the American dream to use the free enterprise system here to make something of yourself financially and become what? Independent, and to live the good life. Because you have a measure of wealth, are you tempted to put your security in money? You see, rich people have this huge temptation to put their trust in their money, in the money they have, but over and over again, we see our stuff can be stolen, it can be destroyed by fire or an earthquake, we can lose our money through a bank failure, a business failure, a market crash or, do you know how we're losing our money right now? It's called inflation, we're not in control of that.

Gary Keith: [00:20:16] Not long ago, you're probably if you saw the news at all, thousands of people in Kentucky lost everything, all their possessions, they lost everything. I looked at some of those shots and I go, there's just nothing but flat ground where once there was a house and there's rubble, ninety people even lost their lives. They're estimating the losses to be in the multiple billions, and I see that this is just a reminder that our stuff and our money can be lost so easily. So Paul would say that rich people think differently by putting their trust in God, not their money.

Gary Keith: [00:20:57] Materialism, this thing that drives us, is such a big problem in our culture. It was something that came to my mind as I was thinking about this message today, so I looked up the definition in the dictionary. What is materialism? I want to quote this to you, so listen up really good now, "Materialism is the theory or doctrine..." Doctrine is right belief, that's how you define the word doctrine, "...that physical well-being and worldly possessions create the greatest good and the highest value in life." Now, if you're a follower of Jesus, you immediately would say, we're not going to subscribe to that philosophy. Yet, maybe our lifestyles, perhaps in some way, may indicate that in some places we do. As Christians, we say there is a greater good, a higher good to be pursued, so if we're going to fight materialism, we've got to be thinking differently.

Gary Keith: [00:21:54] How, how do we think differently? Paul tells us, just a couple of chapters earlier, in chapter 4 verse 7. He starts talking about this to Timothy, says, "Train yourselves to be godly." How do we do that? To be good at being rich, we've got to train ourselves in godliness. How do we train ourselves in godliness? Now, this is going to take a couple of minutes that sounds very basic, but I don't want you to go, oh, I've heard that before, I've heard that before. You need to think about this, and how it applies to your life right now.

Gary Keith: [00:22:26] Read and reflect on the Bible every day. I can't tell you the amount my life has changed by just simply reading the Bible. But that's not enough, we need to be obedient to what the Bible teaches us and speaks to our hearts about. Thessalonians talks about, pray without ceasing. What do our prayers look like, is it an ongoing conversation with God? Do we pray, that's what it means without ceasing, it's like we don't pray...We're not praying for twenty-four hours straight in a day, but there's this ongoing conversation that is between us and God about everything that's going on in our lives of seeking his desire and will for us. Join a small group and be accountable to them, I've been accountable in some settings, most of my experience here, it has kept me in a good place, I highly recommend it. Confess your sins and repent of your bad habits. Serve others. If you want to pursue godliness, those are just a few suggestions. If we are passionately pursuing life in Jesus and his character, how he says to live, and how he's modeled that, will over time become our character. And growing in godliness is perhaps the most effective way we can combat this natural tendency that we have been in this culture that includes materialism.

Gary Keith: [00:23:47] Here's the funny thing, I hope you'll smile with me on this one. I don't know if this happened at your house this Christmas, it happened to mine years ago when my kids were small, they're not with adults and have kids of their own. But maybe you can remember all those Christmases where he went out of your way to make sure the kids got just everything they wanted. I remember when I was making, what I call, really good money years ago, and I did that. Everything under the tree, Christmas morning comes, there's this flurry of activity. Now I have five kids, so there's lots of flurry of activity, and it looks like raccoons have made their way into the living room. I mean, there's trash and packages and boxes and wrapping paper everywhere, and all of a sudden, the toys are strewn everywhere, and one of the kids looks up and says, Dad, is that all there is? And of course, the one says it, then the others say, yeah, was that all there is dad?

Gary Keith: [00:24:41] Before we're too hard on our kids, let me ask you this question, do we as adults ever find ourselves saying that to God? Is that all there is God? I want so much more, here's what I want, and we give him our laundry list of things we want. But do you ever take time to look at the other side of that? I wonder how often we actually express to God the enjoyment we receive from all that he has given to us? I mean, look at the end of verse 17, it says, speaking of God, he says, "Who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment." who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment." We're to put our trust in God who what? Richly provides?

Gary Keith: [00:25:30] Now, do you normally think of God as the one who provides you with everything, or do you look at yourself and say, I'm the provider, I did the work, I got the paycheck. Is that how you look? I mean, this is a key part of changing our thinking about money. Do you have money in the bank and no peace in your heart? I think it's kind of humorous the words in God we trust, first appeared on American pennies in 1864, that was before I was born, just to clarify that, and it's been on all of our currency since 1966. Isn't that ironic to you that that one thing that begs our trust, our money, it states very boldly, don't trust in me, trust in God, another good reminder every time you look at a bill.

Gary Keith: [00:26:27] I want to change my thinking because too many times my own mind goes to thinking I've earned this, it's mine, instead of thinking this is God's and he's entrusted me with it. I want to ask you to consider changing your thinking and changing your mind about where we put our trust. Do you trust God more than you trust in what you have, your possessions, your bank account, your retirement fund? I say that slowly because I'm at that time in my life where I'm looking quite often at the condition of my retirement fund, in my 30s and 40s, I didn't look at that. In fact, I didn't even put any money away for a while, and then some 50s. Now I go, oh no, my retirement fund! I'll just tell you the truth about my life right now, there are times I wake up after a bad dream, and the dream was I had run out of money and I'm on the street. I've been afraid, I've been afraid, where's my trust? I don't have enough to last, God. Man, oh, man, this part of the message really is hitting home for me, I don't know if it's hitting home for you. But I feel like at times I'm in this battle for my mind and my thoughts on this subject, and if I don't take time to confess that to the Lord, and go to the Lord and say, God, I don't want that to be part of my mind and my thoughts, may your Holy Spirit speak in my heart and mind and change my attitude, so that I don't put my trust in money, but I put my trust in you.

Gary Keith: [00:27:58] Now, if we're really honest with ourselves, we would admit that there is some stuff out there that really has a certain control over us. When I think about things that have this control on me, I think immediately, I don't even have it on me right now, but I think about that wonderful device called the smart cell phone. You know, I've misplaced it a few times, or my wife has, and what do we do? It's almost like we come near panic. It's like, let's try the I find me app, or let's push the find button and we push that, and all our attention and all our focus is on, we've got to find that phone, we've got to find that phone before we do anything else, we've got to find that phone. And we concentrate on it, and we finally find it because of thanks to whoever created the I find me thing, we usually find my phone. Why is it I had that feeling? Because I don't think I can go a day without all those calls, and all those texts, and all those emails, and all those ordering things from Amazon that I really want to order. What is that?

Gary Keith: [00:28:55] See, it's easy for people who are rich to think they've got everything covered and don't really need God, that's the danger. But that is really the farthest thing from the truth, it's OK to be rich financially, God uses the financially rich to help fund the ministry around this world in miraculous ways, just don't put your trust in it. Rich people who live for God put their trust in God, not their money. So the question is, OK, well, how do we do this? How do we do this? I'm glad you asked. How do we stop dreaming about what we do with those three hundred million dollars?

Gary Keith: [00:29:35] I mean, this next verse that we're going to talk helps us, we're given something to do, look at verse 18. There's that word command again, we've got two commands in this scripture, here's the second one, "Command them." Who? The rich people, "To do good, to be rich in..." What? "Good deed, and to be..." What? "Generous and willing to share." So those people who are already rich in this world are told to be rich how? In a new way, rich people are not merely to consume material possessions selfishly, they are to be generous and to share. You see, Paul knew that the richer a person gets, the less they trust God, and the less they tend to give to others. We can prove that fact if you really want me to. See, instead of approaching life with open hands, the richer they get, the hands start closing and they start drawing into themselves. So Paul says, you know what, Timothy, tell them this, I have a remedy for helping you continue to trust God with your riches, go and share that stuff with others, especially those in need. So, Timothy, you tell those rich people...He didn't do it like that, you go tell those...He said you go tell those rich people in your church to be rich in good deeds, to be generous, and to be willing to share. I'm convinced that when we take our faith seriously, we'll respond to help meet the needs of other people. What an exciting possibility and journey awaits us, when we consciously and intentionally spend less on ourselves, not in order to say, well, I've stayed away from using my money for all those enjoyable things, no, but to deliver help to those who have less, and to help spread the gospel through the ministry of the church.

Gary Keith: [00:31:20] You see, there's a third way, and here it is, I've been talking about it here, rich people who live for God don't assume it's theirs to consume. If it comes to them, they don't automatically believe, well, it's all for me. About 10 years ago, some very, very rich people, billionaires, actually, I wonder what that would be like, were challenged to show this way of thinking to others. They were challenged to join this club, and they had to sign this giving pledge, to be eligible they've got to commit at least 50 percent of their wealth, most gave over 90 percent. Warren Buffett, a rich guy, he's in this group, he gave ninety-nine percent away. Now, I know what you're thinking because I was thinking this immediately, maybe you're oh, I don't know if you think this way, but I was thinking this way, I could easily live on that one percent of Warren Buffett's money, how about you? Truth be told, we all probably could, but. But here's the point I want to make out of this, these people were challenged to a new way of thinking, and that new way of thinking is changing the way they use their money.

Gary Keith: [00:32:30] And now Paul is telling Timothy, as a young pastor, tell your people that in God's way of looking at money, there's a different way to think that needs to be lived out in us and that different way of thinking is that we should not assume all of it is ours to consume, that we don't automatically believe that when it comes to us, it's for us. He's saying we are to be generous and willing to share, and I would call these billionaires generous. But do you know what? We can be just as generous because I think it's less about how much money we have, and more about our attitude towards the money that God has given us.

Gary Keith: [00:33:07] Let's bring this home to LBF a minute. Many of you in this room, you're getting this, you knew this, this is not new news to you. You're growing in this understanding, and the doing of what it means to be generous. But as I look at the number of people who actually give to this church, there's lots of room for improvement, I go, that's encouraging, there's lots of room for improvement. Yeah, you know, during the pandemic, and during the lockdown, we continued to operate because some very generous people funded our budget. And I praise God, as you should, and I thank God, as we should, but I know, and now you know, that only 50 percent of the people who are part of this LBF church family give financially. There's so much that those who are not giving are missing out on when it comes to giving financially, and there's so much more we can do to spread the gospel and to care for the poor if more of us will learn to think and act differently.

Gary Keith: [00:34:09] How could we do that? What could we do? Let me give you a few ideas. I don't know if these will ever happen. These are just some ideas that came to me. We could add a second sight of LBF somewhere far enough away to where people who are far enough away would never find this place, so we have to provide a place for them and help reach more people. A secondary site, churches are doing that all over the country. We can invest more resources into this ministry we called Upland Community Resource Center to help people in our community who are very much in need, guys like my friend down in Ontario Tent City. We can invest more in the members of our church who feel they need to serve God outside of this place, all around the world. We could create more opportunities to attract the loss to this church, who will find hope and life in Jesus. Those are eternal purposes. Listen, rich people don't assume it's theirs to consume, they're always looking for ways to be generous and give, and we have generous people in this church. Now would you agree with me, that is sure a different way of thinking, not to assume it's yours to consume just because you have it?

Gary Keith: [00:35:19] And in the end, it doesn't matter, as I said, how much money you have, followers of Jesus, all of us are called to be generous. Generosity is a lifestyle that reflects God's blessing in our life because you have been blessed, you can be a blessing to others, Jesus said, it's more blessed to give than receive, I didn't make that up, it's really in the Bible, I know people say that all the time. Check out Acts chapter 20 verse 35, you'll see a quote there where Jesus actually said those very words, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." And this giving Jesus talks about is not some random thing we do every once in a while, or when someone makes us feel guilty or inspires us, no, it is intentional, it is a way of living. So here's what the words of Jesus mean, happy is the person whose life is ordered around giving rather than receiving. Rich people don't assume it's theirs to consume. If it comes to them, they don't automatically believe it's for them. This is how it looks to be good at being rich.

Gary Keith: [00:36:26] But you may ask, what does all this new way of thinking accomplish? Good, verse 19, "In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life." So many times we pursue financial wealth thinking that this is real life, it is the kind of life that will make us the happiest. But both you and I know there are people out there in our culture who are very, very rich, and they're living for themselves with their wealth, and they are anything but happy, wealth is not necessarily going to make you happy. But Paul says that following these commands, the rich of this world will what? Lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation in the coming age, it's a foundation for our time in eternity. And Paul took this right out of the gospels in the words of Jesus, I don't know exactly what this treasure is, there's a mystery about it, I don't know what it will be when we get there, but it says when we get there, it will be good. This good that we do here is going to have some kind of impact on our status there, this is this eternal benefit that brings life like nothing else can, and if it's from God, you know what? You can count ought to be in great.

Gary Keith: [00:37:45] Listen, we all know that you can't take it with you, but here Paul is exhorting this, you can send it ahead. When we're generous, we're not losing our wealth, no, we're laying away as a treasure in heaven, as a firm foundation. There's more to this life than this life, there is way more at stake than what we see around us. We have this unique opportunity because rich people have extra to do more, and somehow when we view our money through the lens of eternity, it helps us loosen our grip on it, and its grip on us.

Gary Keith: [00:38:24] The goal today for us is to respond to the Scriptures and to change our thinking about our money. How do we do that? Well, let me review, as a rich person, we do that by what? By saying I'm going to cultivate humility with what I have instead of arrogance, I'm going to look at all people the same way. By saying I'm going to keep my trust in God instead of my money. By saying, I'm going to be generous and share more. By saying, I want to be one who's laying up treasure in heaven. And this is real and true living a life that honors God. I want you to be very, very rich, but not only that, I want all of us to be good at being rich. I want God to get our hearts because I know that when God gets our hearts, we will think differently, and then we will act differently, and it will impact us for all eternity.

Gary Keith: [00:39:28] So I hope you will join me this new year, it's only the second week of the New Year, as I always work myself into living out this message, in making a commitment to God, I want to be good at being rich, to be rich towards God. And if you choose to do that, I can guarantee you one thing, you'll never regret it, you'll never regret it.

Gary Keith: [00:39:53] Would you pray with me, please? Father, I want to thank you for the time you've given me today to look at the scriptures, to consider what they say, and to challenge us as a church family to be good at being rich. God, I pray that what I've said today would not be soon forgotten in any of our minds and in any of our hearts, but that you God would continue to do a work of refining us, of maturing us, and of growing our generosity, and helping us to look at people the way you look at people, and looking at how to make sure we're trusting in you, all of these things are so foundationally important for us, God. God, I desire for this church to be a church way up here on top of Euclid Avenue that is a light to our community in so many ways, this being one of them. May we have an attitude that you have given to us abundantly, not scarcity, but abundantly, and may we trust that you are going to provide for our needs and you're going to give us wealth as you so see fit. Help us to use it to honor you, and to lay that foundation. I pray in Jesus' Holy Name. Amen.



Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848