The Longer Crowbar Articles

Rich God, Poor God Part 1

0:00 The Definition of Success
The definition of success is doing the thing we were created to do. Success is having something expensive that’s not being used for what it was created for. You have to yield to the creator for the purpose for which you were created. You may be high-achieving in an arena for which you were not created. You may have a lot of money but not be operating for the purpose for which you were created. Then you’re not successful. You may be wealthy but not successful.
We find that purpose at the intersection of our passion and our proficiency. God created us to do a thing, and therefore he put a desire in us to do that thing. He also put a proclivity in us that we would develop proficiency in that thing so we could be successful.
1:14 on truth
As long as there is error in the world, truth will be controversial. As long as there is truth in the world, error will be controversial. Whether or not this is controversial is going to be determined by whether you are looking for truth or whether we’re just seeking to make true the things we already believe.
I’ve heard people say, “God said it.” I believe it. That settles it.” The reality is that if God said it, that settles it, whether you believe it or not.
We have to be aware of the fact that just because we believe something doesn’t make it true. Truth is not subjective at all; it is very objective. In the words of Winston Churchill, “truth is incontrovertible.” Malice may attack it. “Ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”
2:23 Rich God, Poor God
I’m going to talk about the subject, “Rich God, Poor God.” The entire concept of why wealth and poverty are a source of contention, which fascinates me, is
I was born the second of seven brothers to hardworking parents who were not rich. We were some of the poorest brothers, born to hardworking parents who were not rich. We were some of the poorest people, and seven boys eat a lot of food. The sheer magnitude of groceries that my parents had to buy to keep us alive, let alone to make us feel like we had enough food,
I remember the effects of poverty on our existence—not all were terrible. We learned that if you work hard, you don’t have to be poor. Working hard is not a formula for success, but it’s definitely better than sitting around watching TV.
I was 16 years old. A young man in my high school shared the gospel. When I came to Christ, a lot of things became clear to me, especially when I started reading the Bible. What didn’t make sense was why so many things I was reading in the Bible were very different from what I was hearing behind the pulpit. And the Bible’s not the one that’s confusing. I don’t add anything to it. I let it say what it says, and then I look for validation in scripture. And there are no isolated doctrines in Scripture.
5:24 The pastor with the Cordoba
Of all the people who went to our church, our house and car were the least nice. I can remember driving to church in a car that had four different color doors. And I can remember when the pastor got a brand new Chrysler Cordoba. I thought, “The preacher preaches warnings about money.” Now I’m confused. He’s got a brand new Chrysler Cordoba. His wife drives an MG convertible. They live in this really nice house in Dauphin, and we’re living in the hood in Harrisburg. What is the definition of this “richness” that you’re talking about? “Because to me, you’re it, but you’re warning me about it, and how you’re doing doesn’t look too terrible to me from where I’m sitting.”
This is not a judgment; this is just awareness.
6:56 The Bible on Money and Tithing
What does the Bible say about money? I should tithe, and I should give. I believe in tithing. I believe in giving. But if you do the right thing with 10% of your money and the wrong thing with 90% of your money, you will be broke. I knew a lot of broke tithers, and I still know a lot of broke tithers. I’ve seen people give 10% of their money for decades and do the wrong thing with the other 90% and stay broke. I started learning what the Bible said about business, and people accused me of being a “prosperity gospel preacher.”
I don’t know what that is. Prosperity. Do I preach prosperity? Yes. Prosperity is in the Bible, but the words “prosperity” and “gospel” together are not in the Bible. So I say, “Are you preaching a poverty gospel?” That’s not in the Bible either. The reality is that the word has something to say about poverty and about wealth.
God is not the author of obscurity; rather, he is the author of clarity. John 10:10: “For the thief comes not to steal, but to kill and to destroy.” That does not mean the thief is coming to steal, kill, and destroy. It means he ain’t coming unless he can steal, kill, or destroy something. “If there ain’t nothing there to steal, there ain’t nothing there to kill, and there ain’t nothing there to destroy, I’m staying home.”
Rich God, Poor God? Part 1

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