While we may not talk to others about our finances, God certainly didn't shy away from discussing it with His people.
Reference: v. 17 "Proclaim further: This is what the Lord Almighty says: 'My towns will again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem.'" (NIV Bible)
Explore: For the last three years I have spent most of January working in the Philippines. Instead of spending time enjoying the Australian summer I have been training pastors, visiting child sponsorship areas and providing children's programs for those in slums and developing areas. It has been a noticeable change to spend the whole summer in the one country this year.
The other day I actually felt a pang of guilt. Usually at this time of year I would be assisting patients in a basic medical clinic, buying rice for children that my family and friends sponsor and trying to communicate in basic English that God loves all people. Instead I have been sleeping in late, reading novels and eating out with friends. Quite the extreme opposites!
The reason why I bring up all this talk about the Philippines is because this verse talks about the Lord overflowing His towns with prosperity. I can assure you, the places I stay in the Philippines are not overflowing with prosperity, and yet they hold some of the most faithful, loving and God-fearing people I know. Why is this so? If you speak to any Filipino locals about their poverty they will start talking about their leadership, the corruption and greed that comes from the top. The leadership of a country doesn't just affect international relations, education and road maintenance, it actually changes the properous culture of the whole country.
Application: While you may not be the leader of a country, the fact that you are reading this on the internet (and therefore using a computer) means that you are certainly richer than 80% of the world's population. Therefore you have more riches and power than the majority of the world. While we may not have the impact on a country's financial culture, we certainly have control over our own finances – which are quite considerable in comparison to almost everyone else. Therefore, if we are to serve God with our finances we need to make wise decisions with it. Do you sponsor a child? Do you give to charities? Do you give to your church? While we may have more money than 80% of the world, we certainly don't like to talk about it much. If I was talking to you face-to-face I wouldn't even be brave enough to ask you these last 3 questions. However I think we all need to ask ourselves this question regularly: Are we desiring what God desires: that all His people may prosper? You may not believe that God has given you finances over someone else but you can be assured that He is watching what you do with them.
Prayer: Lord, in our world of multi-media and extreme communication, there are still so many taboos. Money is certainly near the top of the taboo list. May I have integrity with my own money and be brave enough to challenge other people in how they use theirs. Amen.
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This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.