June 8

Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. Genesis 13:2

People have many wrong ideas about wealth and material possessions.  The Bible gives us numerous examples, such as this passage, for countering these errors.  The Scriptures teach us that riches are not wrong in and of themselves, because they are gifts from God.  Rather, the problem begins with the people who own and use them.

No good philosopher or theologian would find fault with what God has created and given to his people.  Instead, they would condemn the misuse of God’s gifts.  David says, “Though your riches increase, do not set your hear on them” (Psalm 62:10).  It’s as if he meant to say, “Riches are good, but be careful that you don’t use them in the wrong way.”  Similarly, it isn’t necessarily wrong to admire a woman.  After all, she is one of God’s beautiful creatures.  But desiring someone you’re not supposed to desire is sinful.  In order to remain pure, monks shut themselves up in monasteries to avoid seeing any women.  But even when they were alone, they would burn with desire for women because they had sinful hearts.  Refusing to look at women can’t stop these improper thoughts, just as abstaining from certain things doesn’t put an end to sinful longings.  Rather, we learn how to control ourselves by interacting with people and actually using our possessions.

Your primary goal in life should be devotion to God.  After that, strive to make use of what you own with a pure heart.  Keep in mind that material possessions aren’t evil in and of themselves.  Those who use their possessions wrongly are like fools who slouch when they stand in the sunlight and then become upset because their shadows are crooked.  These people don’t realize that the problem is inside of them.

Martin Luther’s Here I Stand (Audio CD)

In the late afternoon of April 18, 1521, in the city of Worms, Germany, Martin Luther, a 37 year-old Catholic monk was called to defend himself before Charles the Fifth, the Holy Roman Emperor. The speech he delivered that day, Here I Stand, marked the beginning of the Reformation, a critical turning point in Christian history, that decisively altered the spiritual map of the world. In this recording, Max McLean introduces the events leading up to the Diet of Worms; Martin Luther’s prayer the night before he delivered his speech; Luther’s stirring defense; the Catholic church’s rebuttal; and, Luther’s final heartfelt response.

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