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ZekeO
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Joined: 2004/7/4
Posts: 1014
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

 Re:

Quote:

rookie wrote:
We see the strivings of a few men. What about the common man? What about the believer? What is the nature of the fruit of these men's works?



It is such a fine line between what we want and what we need. Being content with what we have, knowing that we have a father who loves and cares for us. One of things that I find quite challenging is maitaining a cutting edge attitude towards life and the Lord, knowing that he deserves my all, but being a good steward of what he has given me.

In regards to policies and planning for the future of your family certainly adds to the weight of decisions that we need to make. Being sold out but at the same time not being stupid:-(.

It is so easy to get consumed with stuff, but in the light of living conservatively we have a life that is so consumed with the beauty of Jesus, that that one vision motivates a life of self-sacrifice.

Thoughts.
Zeke


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Zeke Oosthuis

 2004/7/28 14:45Profile
rookie
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Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4792


 Re:

Brother Zeke wrote:

Quote:
It is so easy to get consumed with stuff, but in the light of living conservatively we have a life that is so consumed with the beauty of Jesus, that that one vision motivates a life of self-sacrifice.



I believe the answer to our problem in the U.S. is summed up with what you said Zeke. The solution is to have Jesus fill our lives with a joy that consumes our life.

I am clueless to how things are in South Africa. Maybe you could share some of your observations of your country.

However, here in the U.S. the common man finds himself slowly losing the prosperity his father once had. I remember the mid 1960's when my father was a steel worker for Bethlehem Steel. My mother was able to stay home. He supported us on his wages. My father always purchased a new car. He never bought used cars. However he only bought one car every ten years, and he paid cash for it. In 1965, my parents purchased an acre of land and built a home. Back then a 1700 square foot home was considered quite large. They paid the mortgage off in less than 10 years.

Back then, only 17% of moms with children under the age of I believe 8, worked. Today, 70% of moms work with children under the age of 8 years old. It now takes two people working to sustain the life style most Americans have been trained to desire. Surprisingly, with two parents working, income levels have basically stayed the same or dropped for 80% of the population. In addition to this phenomena, debt levels have increased beyond imagination in the past 40 years. So here in the U.S. we have begun to live on our future earnings. Do you see how different these times are compared to the 1960's?

Not only are two people working, but we have added debt to strive for something that amounts to what?

In Christ
Jeff


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Jeff Marshalek

 2004/7/29 12:29Profile
Jslimbaugh
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Joined: 2004/7/21
Posts: 22


 Re:

Quote:

I believe the answer to our problem in the U.S. is summed up with what you said Zeke. The solution is to have Jesus fill our lives with a joy that consumes our life.



Jesus said that "no man can serve two masters." He said this specifically and contextually concerning money. We see a lving example of this truth in Christ's exchange with the Rich Young Ruler.

In America, we have a name that we wear quite glibly...if not proudly and triumphantly. It is the lable of "consumer." Do you know what a consumer is? A consumer is just a worldly way of saying one is supremely coveteous. And this is how Western culture in general, and American culture in particular, chooses to define itself.

The Western Christian is infused with this mentality, and should not deceive himself or herself about it. You have been -- as a citizen of the First World -- socialized, groomed, and conditioned to love and seek after the wares of the world.

So what is the solution for such an ingrained flaw? Our hope is Christ -- that this faith is a transforming faith. That it has the ability to accomplish what no other discipline or system on the face of the planet can: to actually make you a DIFFERENT PERSON. As Paul wrote, "If any man is in Christ, he is a NEW creature. The old has GONE and the new has come."

But what does the process look like? What is our part in it? "If any man wants to be My disciple, he must pick up his cross daily and follow me." It is through a deep, thorough, painful death to "my stuff" that we crucify the consumerist mentality and become free. Then we can say with Paul, "Godliness with contentment is great gain." But until we learn to LIVE like Paul, we will never learn to experience this maxim. We will only be able to agree with it, which doesn't impress God in the least.

One helpful encouragement in this call to be free of the world is that God's goal isn't deprivation. His goal isn't to deny you. His goal is to remove the material obstacles that cloud our spiritual view. If this work can be accomplished in us, then we can joyfully proclaim these words from the Scripture -- "Oh, the depths of the RICHES of the wisdom and knowledge OF GOD."

God becomes our greatest treasure. David said of God, "Eternal pleasures are at Your right hand forevermore." Many fear that answering the call to come away from the distractions of the world and all its "stuff" will mean a supremely boring, austere life. To the contrary, David says that it is the gateway to eternal pleasures that far outshine anything this world has to offer.

Blessings!!
Jason


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JSL

 2004/7/29 13:17Profile
ZekeO
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Joined: 2004/7/4
Posts: 1014
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

 Re: Days are looking brighter

Quote:

But what does the process look like? What is our part in it? "If any man wants to be my disciple, he must pick up his cross daily and follow me." It is through a deep, thorough, painful death to "my stuff" that we crucify the consumerist mentality and become free.



I’ve heard it said that crucifixion is the only form of death that you can’t do to yourself, and because you can’t do it to yourself you can’t control it. I think that is what scares me at times, how much it would really cost in terms of me losing everything to be dead. The process sometimes is painful. On the topic at hand the thought of giving up ‘my stuff’ that I have so carefully put together, I mean I worked for it, don’t I deserve it? I know the answer leans more towards ‘NO’ but you hear my heart. Suppose I had better get in the trunk.

It has been said many times: Trust and obey, it is the only way. Raises another thought provoker, do I really trust God with my life, my wife, my children, my home everything? If I do not know him how can I even begin to let it all be stripped away? We are constantly being bombarded with messages of what we should do and what we ought to be doing with out lives etc. I think these days as a Christian require utmost diligence to maintain intimacy with him. Guarding the good deposit.

Quote:

Consumerist mentality



Now that is an interesting mindset, in relation to the Church situation. The town were I live is quite slow in terms of trends, fads, labels, fashion etc. But you travel 80 Kms down the highway and you get Durban, which is completely opposite. What is interesting, is that within these two cities are Churches, which in our church language are base churches, in other words they export ministry and resources beyond their local environs. We both belong to the same church grouping but the way we reflect ourselves in terms of fashion, the cars we drive, the houses we buy is chalk and cheese. I know allot has got to do with the comparative salaries and the like, but when we stand next to them, we are quite ‘untrendy’. The culture in that Church is a young, happening, trendy, outgoing, coffee shop lifestyle. Whether this has got anything to do with a consumerist mentality on there part I could not tell, but it is something that I have noticed. The leaders in these churches are good friends and they both have a heart to see the gospel impact the world, so to see how much finances influence the style of the church is noteworthy. One thing that it does do is make everyone in that environment think that this is normal, and if you don’t have the labels 'you feel' you don't fit in.

Quote:

Not only are two people working, but we have added debt to strive for something that amounts to what?



Not much really, but heck them Jones’ have just got a new jeep Cherokee. Is this the case in the church as well?

Quote:

I am clueless to how things are in South Africa. Maybe you could share some of your observations of your country.



Bro, its just the same, the only thing that differs maybe is the degrees of variance. You can have multimillion Dollar home and literally 5 miles down the road you have people living in a shantytown. The sad thing is that person living in a shack wants exactly what the person in the big house wants: MORE! To be fare to the people who live in absolute squaller, they have a sense of joy and community that the rich castles don't.

So it has to be a Jesus revolution to quell the monsters that live within each of us. Marx didn’t say for nothing that religion is the opiate of the masses.


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Zeke Oosthuis

 2004/7/29 15:09Profile
rookie
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Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4792


 Re:

Thanks for sharing Zeke.

Here are some thoughts according to Scripture.

John 4:1-26

Jesus taught His disciples to preach the good news of the kingdom. The beatitudes identify the nature of the work that Jesus’ life manifests in the lives of the believer. Jesus promises an abundant life, a passionate life, a joyful life to those who seek. Jesus promises, “whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:14 Are we living a life that is parched? Are we content with living a life that does not satisfy? Let us look to how Jesus ministered to the Samaritan women at the well.

The Samaritan woman said to Jesus, “Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock? (verse 12) Also she said, “Our fathers worshipped on this mountain…” (verse 20) Listen to the words of the Samaritan. She claims to be of the same lineage as Jesus. Yet the Jews “have no dealings with Samaritans. Why is this so? It is important that we go back in time to understand the significance of this encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman.

We find a short summary of the judgment God placed on the tribes of Israel. He strengthened the hand of the Assyrians to conquer the northern tribes that lived in the area of Samaria. “For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they did not depart from them, until the Lord removed Israel out of His sight, as He had said by all His servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria, as it is this day.” 2 Kings 17:22-23 “Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them from His sight; there was none left but the tribe of Judah alone.” Vs 18

“Then the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel; and they took possession of Samaria and dwelt in its cities. And it was so, at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they did not fear the Lord; therefore the Lord sent lions among them; which killed some of them. So they spoke to the king of Assyria, saying, “The nations whom you have removed and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the rituals of the God of the land; therefore He has sent lions among them, and indeed, they are killing them because they do not know the rituals of the God of the land.” Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, “Send there one of the priests whom you brought from there; let him go and dwell there, and let him teach them the rituals of the God of the land.” 2 Kings 17:24-27

Let us listen to what happen in the region of Samaria. “However every nation continued to make gods of its own, and put them in the shrines on the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in the cities where they dwelt…They feared the Lord, yet served their own gods-according to the rituals of the nations from among whom they were carried away…To this day they continue practicing the former rituals; they do not fear the Lord, nor do they follow their statutes or their ordinances, or the law and commandment which the Lord had commanded the children of Jacob…” 2 Kings 17:29-34

So, coming back to the time of Jesus we can understand why the Samaritan woman claims Jacob as the father of the Samaritans. She also knows that the Messiah is coming! She says, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” John 4:25 Yet Jesus says to her, “You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.” John 4:22 Jesus declares that the Samaritans do not know God. Their history of mixing the word of God with the gods they brought with them from Assyria, combine to mean only that they practiced religious rituals. There can be no satisfaction, no fulfillment, no power in a life that seeks to have one foot in this world and one foot seeking God. Jesus asserts this precept when He says to the Samaritan woman, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again…” Jesus points out to the woman, “for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband, in that you spoke truly.” She has strived to quench her thirst. She said to herself, I will fill the void in my life with the things that a good man can give me. She failed 5 times and now tries once more.

Jesus declares He will always quench her thirst if she will only ask. “…Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” He says to her, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

What does it mean to worship in spirit and truth? What is Jesus really teaching here? I believe the story of the Samaritan woman and Paul’s letters to the Corinthian church teach us an important precept about our relationship with God. Paul cries out to the hearts of the Corinthians, “O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections.” 2 Corinthians 6:12 He goes on to identify the affections which hinder the flow of water that Jesus promises. “For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?” Paul points to the central problem that is keeping the Corinthians from becoming a fountain of living water. He declares that the Corinthians still hope for the same substances as the world hopes in. Paul’s exhortation to the congregation, “Therefore, Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean. And I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:17-18. Jesus ministers to the Samaritan woman, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

Many have tried to apply Paul’s solution. “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean…” Many Christians walk this earth in frustration and fear. They struggle through life without the joy of the Lord. They fear contact with the world. They hide their lamp under their bed. They make rules like the Jews who wrote the Talmud. But this is not the way that Jesus provides for His disciples. Listen to Him minister to the Samaritan woman, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Paul also gives us the same solution to our frustrations and fears, Just before he quotes from Isaiah, “Come out from among them,” Paul identifies that the indwelling Spirit is the only way, the most perfect way. Listen, “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God and they shall be My people.” Verse 16. Jesus will guide us through His Holy Spirit. He will do the work. He will convict us what hinders us in our relationship with our Lord. He will teach us a way that is not a burden. Jesus promises are true! “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Jesus promised the Samaritan woman that she would find rest for her soul if she would only seek. She would no longer search for the substances of the world in hope of finding true joy. Her heart would worship her Creator. Let us search our own hearts. Is our life filled with striving for the substances of this world and at the same time content with our walk with our Lord? Our hearts will either be convicted or confirmed by the Spirit. Jesus will change the substance of our hope. We will not strive for the things of this world, but we will strive for the things of God. Then we too will find rest.

Submit to the Spirit that yearns jealously for you. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, Abba Father!” Romans 8:14-15 When others witness the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives they too will ask, what is the substance of the hope for which we strive. With joy and love we will truly want to share our hope, for Jesus has filled us with living water.

Look unto Jesus! He is faithful.

In Christ
Jeff


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Jeff Marshalek

 2004/7/29 16:13Profile
Rahman
Member



Joined: 2004/3/24
Posts: 1374


 Re:




Greetings brethren! ...

In the past two years our Lord has schooled me real tough in the Puritan way of viewing, and handling money ... Bottom line, any money that our Lord intrusts to us is His test of stewardship to us ... Can we be trusted with little, if in fact it is His good pleasure to intrust us with more to further His good pleasure ... i've learned so much from adopting the Puritan's view of wealth, money and finance, that in only 2 years I've seen a marked improvement in my finances ...

This is the basic Puritan outlook on money, " A firm belief that people are stewards of what God has entrusted to them. Money is ultimately God’s, not ours. In the words of the influential Puritan book, A Godly Form of Household Government, money is “that which God hath lent thee.” ... There once was a time when American business folk practiced the former ...

In these lessons God has also made it so clear why it has only taken 100 years for America to fall from the glorious guilded age, to the notorius beguiled age, from the American dream, to the American scream, from the mindset of God's money, to money becoming god ... It's really sad how far America has fallen ...


The Puritans and Money

by LELAND RYKEN

The Dangers of Wealth


Instead of regarding success as a sign of God’s approval or of their own virtue, the Puritans were much more likely to look upon prosperity as a temptation. A marginal note to Genesis 13:1 in the Geneva Bible speaks volumes: “Abraham’s great riches gotten in Egypt hindered him not to follow his vocation,” implying that his riches could easily have become a temptation to him. “Both poverty and riches,” wrote John Robinson, “have their temptations …. And of the two states, … the temptations of riches are the more dangerous.” Thomas Lever claimed, “He that seeks to be rich … will fall into diverse temptations and snares of the devil.” Richard Rogers woke up a little after midnight and was convicted of the fact that the blessings of God “waxed too sweet to me, and … dangerous.”

A second reason why riches are dangerous is that they instill reliance on self instead of on God. Richard Baxter was of the opinion that “when men prosper in the world, their minds are lifted up with their estates, and they can hardly believe that they are so ill, while they feel themselves so well.”

The acquisition of wealth, said the Puritans, also has a way of absorbing so much of a person’s time and energy that it draws him or her away from religion and moral concern for others. Richard Mather, in his farewell sermon, said: Experience shows that it is an easy thing in the midst of a worldly business to lose the life and power of religion that nothing thereof should be left but only the external form, as it were the carcass or shell, worldliness having eaten out the kernel and having consumed the very soul and life of godliness.

Cotton Mather was equally alarmed by the trend toward materialism in New England Society: “Religion begat prosperity and the daughter devoured the mother.”

If money is as dangerous as all this, shouldn’t a person simply avoid it? Not according to the Puritans. William Ames claimed that “riches… are morally neither good or bad, but things indifferent which men may use either well or ill.” Thomas Adams told his city congregation, “We teach you not to cast away the bag, but covetousness”

How Much Is Enough? The Puritan Ideal of Moderation

For the Puritans, the crucial issue was not how large a person’s income was, but how much money was spent on oneself. The Puritan ideal was moderation. Such an ideal has, of course, appealed to many people besides the Puritans, but the concept of “temperance” was associated with the Puritans in their time.

The Puritans conceived of moderation or temperance as a golden mean between extremes. John Downame wrote that “the mean [median] estate is much to be preferred before the greatest prosperity .… The mean estate… preserveth us from forgetfulness of God, irreligion, and profaneness.”

If moderation is the goal it needs to be protected against its opposites. One of these is greed for wealth which is often intertwined with covetousness. In a sermon on Matt. 6: 19,20 Perkins listed the following as the things Christ forbids; “sundry practices of covetousness, whereof the first is excessive seeking of worldly wealth, when men keep no measure or moderation.”

Another thing that moderation stands opposed to is luxury. The Puritans looked askance at a luxurious lifestyle, no matter what form it took one’s house, clothing, recreation, or eating habits. When Richard Baxter denounced the “wealthy vices,” he included a discussion of sensuality, overeating, and overindulgence in sports and recreation. His “directions against prodigality and sinful wastefulness” included comments against “pampering the belly in excess … or costliness of meat or drink,” “needless costly visits and entertainments,” and “unnecessary sumptuous buildings.”

Such warnings against luxury were common among the Puritans. Having defined the essence of luxury with the formula “wealth more than necessary for nature and person,” William Perkins proceeded to show his negative assessment of it: it is “as a knife in the hands of a child, likely to hurt, if not taken away.” Samuel Ward, in his college diary, listed as one of the “sins of the university” that of “excess in apparel.”

It would be wrong to conclude that because the Puritans were opposed to luxury they were ascetic. They did not think that denying oneself legitimate indulgences was inherently virtuous. In fact, they were as clear-sighted about the temptations of poverty as they were about the temptations of luxury. Baxter’s list of temptations ran like this: “overmuch care about their wants and worldly matters,” discontent, covetousness, envy of the rich, neglect of spiritual duties, and neglect of “the holy education of their children.”_




What Is Money For?

The more we explore Puritan attitudes, the more apparent it becomes that the key to everything they said on the topic was their conviction that money is a social good, not a private possession. Its main purpose is the welfare of everyone in society, not the personal pleasure of the person who happens to have control over it.

The genius of Puritanism was its clear-sightedness about what things are for, and that genius did not desert them in money matters. Everything depends on how a person uses his or her money. Baxter stated, “The question is how they use that which they labour so hard for, and save so sparingly. If they use it for God, and for charitable uses, there is no man taketh a righter course.”

What are the ends or uses of money? The Puritans can speak for themselves on this topic. “Riches may enable us to relieve our needy brethren, and to promote good works for church and state.” Money exists “for the glory of God and the good of others.” “The more diligently we pursue our several callings, the more we are capacitated to extend our charity to such as are in poverty and distress.” “God’s children look to the spiritual use of those things which the worldlings use carnally.” In none of these comments about the purpose of earning money does one get the impression that income is something people have a right to spend on themselves simply because they have earned it.

William Perkins provides an adequate summary on using money:

We must so use and possess the goods we have, that the use and possession of them may tend to God’s glory, and the salvation of our souls …. Our riches must be employed to necessary uses. These are first, the maintenance of our own good estate and condition. Secondly, the good of others, specially those that are of our family or kindred …. Thirdly, the relief of the poor…. Fourthly, the maintenance of the church of God, and true religion …. Fifth, the maintenance of the Commonwealth.

The belief that money is a social good is also the key to Puritan views on the taking of interest. In the sixteenth century the Puritans were overwhelmingly opposed to the practice of taking interest on money that had been lent. They were opposed to it because of Old Testament prohibitions against it and because of what they felt to be the spirit behind the practice, namely, covetousness and greed. As society changed, becoming less agrarian and more industrial, Puritans increasingly made a distinction between interest and usury (exploitive interest).

At first glance, the two attitudes seem contradictory, but in fact they are not. Look at what the anti-interest and pro-interest Puritans had in common: they both agreed that money is a social good and that therefore hoarding and exploitation are not permissible. In an increasingly commercial society, the most compassionate act became the willingness to lend money at a modest rate of interest. In Baxter’s words, “There is an usury which is against neither justice nor charity,” and he went on to describe conditions under which it is charitable.

Why did the Puritans view money as a social good when, as our modern view shows, it is so much more natural to view it as a person’s own possession? The Puritan outlook stemmed from a firm belief that people are stewards of what God has entrusted to them. Money is ultimately God’s, not ours. In the words of the influential Puritan book, A Godly Form of Household Government, money is “that which God hath lent thee.”




The Puritan Critique of The Success Ethic

Modern Western culture is based overwhelmingly on the success ethic—the belief that material prosperity is the ultimate value in life and that a person’s worth can be measured by material or social standards. By contrast, the Puritan Thoman Watson asserted that “blessedness… does not lie in the acquisition of worldly things. Happiness cannot by any art of chemistry be extracted here.” Samuel Hieron was far from the success ethic when he prayed:
“Oh, let not mine eyes be dazzled, nor my heart bewitched with the glory and sweetness of these worldly pleasures …. Draw my affection to the love of that durable riches, and to that fruit of heavenly wisdom which is better than gold, and the revenues thereof do surpass the silver, that my chief care may be to have a soul enriched and furnished with Thy grace.”




The Puritan Critique of The Self-Made Person

American culture has been strangely enamored of the image of “the self-made person”—the person who becomes rich and famous through his or her own efforts. The idea of having status handed over as a gift does not appeal to such an outlook. Yet the Puritans denied that there can even be such a thing as a self-made person. Based on an ethic of grace, Puritanism viewed prosperity solely as God’s gift. John Preston wrote regarding riches that “it is God that gives them, it is he that dispenseth them, it is he that gives the reward…. The care of the work only belongs to us.”



The Puritan Critique of Modern Business Ethics

It has become an axiom of modern business that the goal of business is to make as much profit as possible and that any type of competition or selling practice is acceptable as long as it is legal. The Puritans would not agree. For one thing, they looked upon business as a service to society. “We must therefore think,” wrote John Knewstub, “that when we come to buying and selling, we come to witness our love towards our neighbor by our well dealing with him in his goods.” William Perkins said, “The end of a man’s calling is not to gather riches for himself… but to serve God in the serving of man, and in the seeking the good of all men.”

Nor would the Puritans agree with modern methods of competition or profiteering. When citizens in Boston complained that Robert Keayne charged excessive prices, the magistrates fined him two hundred pounds, and he very nearly found himself excommunicated from the church. John Cotton used the trial to lay down some business principles in a public lecture on economics. Cotton denounced as false the following premises:

That a man might sell as dear [expensively] as he can, and buy as cheap as he can…. That he may sell as he bought, though he paid too dear, etc., and though the commodity be fallen, etc. That as a man may take advantage of his own skill or ability, so he may of another’s ignorance or necessity.

In England John Knewstub showed what a gulf lies between the Puritans and modern commercial practices when he wrote disparagingly of businessmen who: come to buying and selling as it were to the razing and spoiling of some enemy’s city …, where every man catcheth, snatcheth and carrieth away whatsoever he can come by. And he is thought the best who carrieth away the most…. But the Holy Ghost will bring us to another trial of our love.




The Puritan Critique of The “Simple Life” Philosophy

Modern materialism has produced its own antithesis in the form of people who view affluence and possessions as inherently tainted. The Puritans were closer to such an outlook than to one supporting an affluent lifestyle, but they cannot be fitted comfortably here either. William Perkins wrote, “These earthly things are the good gifts of God, which no man can simply condemn, without injury to God’s disposing hand and providence, who hath ordained them for natural life.” The Puritans were also wary of a blanket condemnation of people who have a higher standard of living than some other people. In Perkin’s words:

We must not make one measure of sufficiency of goods necessary for all persons, for it varies according to the diverse conditions of persons, and according to the time and place. More things are necessary to a public person than to a private; and more to him that has a charge than to a single man.




The Puritan Critique of Socialism

A final force in modern life of which the Puritans would not approve is socialism, whether in its overt form of governmental ownership or in its subtle form of the welfare state. William Ames wrote, “Ownership and differences in the amount of possessions are ordinances of God and approved by him, Prov. 22:2; II Thess. 3:12.” John Robinson commented:

God could … either have made men’s states more equal, or have given everyone sufficient of his own. But he hath rather chosen to make some rich, and some poor, that one might stand in need of another, and help another, that so he might try the goodness and mercy of them that are able, in supplying the wants of the rest.

As I have suggested, the Puritans would have shared some of the assumptions of many different groups on the economic scene today. But they would stand aghast at what secularism and self-interest have made of principles that they placed in a Christian context.



Summary

One of the ironies in the history of the Puritans is that their very industriousness and plain living tended to make them relatively affluent. Their virtues produced corresponding temptations. On the one hand, the Puritans held attitudes conducive to the amassing of wealth and property: the view that money and property are good in principle, disbelief that poverty is meritorious in itself, and a conviction that the disciplined and hardworking lifestyle is virtuous.

On the other hand, to curb the potential for self-indulgence that followed in the wake of their lifestyle, the Puritans had an even longer list of cautions: an awareness that God sends poverty as well as riches, an obsession with the dangers of wealth, the ideal of moderation, a doctrine of stewardship in which God is viewed as the ultimate owner of goods, and a view of money as a social good.



 2004/7/29 17:52Profile
Rahman
Member



Joined: 2004/3/24
Posts: 1374


 Re: JD Rockefeller Sr ...




How the Lord steered me toward the Puritan ethic on money and wealth is a long story, but it culminated in a question asked in a Tony Robbins course, and a subsequent indepth study of the life of JD Rockefeller Sr. via audiotapes of the book "Titan" ... Mind blowing! ... Certainly not the man history has painted him to be ... This man was the prince of the Puritan ethic in what, and what not to do with money ...

If anyone's interested here is a little article i wrote for our church newsletter regarding JDR Sr ...



THE DIVIDENDS OF SUNDAY SCHOOL, HARD WORK AND CHEERFUL GIVING


" After it is all over, the religion of a man is his most important possession. And with that religion comes the accessories which it brings with it. The Sunday school should be a place, not only where the word of God is taught, but from it should go influences – which help each one to follow carefully in the footsteps of the Master.

There is nothing in this world that can compare with the Christian fellowship, nothing that can satisfy but Christ. It is the Sunday school which can bring both. Christ is to be studied and through an acquaintance with His life, and through His words, which have been handed down to us, we can only learn of His love for us, the greatest of that love and sacrifice which led Him to the cross that we, His brothers, might live with Him forever.

We can never learn too much of His will towards us, too much of his messages and His advice. The Bible is His word and its study gives at once the foundation for our faith and an inspiration to battle onward in the fight against the tempter. We should learn more of His word, and the Sunday school is the place where all may gather that knowledge of His great love for us that will turn our dark days into brightness, and furnish the glad light which should shine out from our lives as an inspiration for the despondent and heart-sick brother who finds the way of life hard to tread.

In our Sunday school let us learn to repeat those passages which show forth best the beauties of holiness. Each class should be taught to repeat at will those inspired words. Passages of Scriptures should be as familiar to our children as are the lessons of education taught in day schools. In some moment of their lives who knows that the warning, the promise learned and understood in the Sunday school, may prove to be the turning point in their lives and save some one from being turned away from the right and swept down the broad road to destruction.

And we are never too old to study the Bible. Each time the lessons are studied comes some new meaning, some new thought which will make us better. Don’t forsake the Sunday school because you have reached years of maturity. Stick closer to it as the years go by. Dig deeper into its truths. Make your place early in the Sunday school, and let that place be filled by you as long as you live. It is particularly gratifying to me after my absence to notice the signs of prosperity in the Sunday school. The growth of the school has been exceptional, and I foresee in that growth the new beginning of a marvelous power for good in our city. The Sunday school has been a help to me, greater perhaps than any other force in my Christian life, and I can ask no better things for you, than that you, and all that shall come after you in this great band of workers for Christ, shall receive the same measure of blessedness which I have been permitted to have.

When you come to the church or to the Sunday school and associate yourself with it you must put something into it. When the business men associate themselves together for the manufacture of these gas fixtures, or the window glasses or many of the things that we see about us, each man contributes some money for that joint undertaking. In proportion to what they put into this business do they receive returns from their investments or dividends. The more they put in the more they receive in dividends.
Now it is not necessary that you put a great amount of money into this work that you are becoming a part of, but that the whole may accomplish the most it is necessary that each contribute something, be it money or what it may. Put something in. And according as you put something in the greater will be your dividends of salvation."

John D. Rockefeller Sr.
(from a speech given at the Euclid Ave. Baptist Church, to his Sunday school teachers and students, as it’s superintendant and teacher of 49 years)


A reporter wrote this of Mr. Rockefeller, “Devoted as he is to his church, Mr. Rockefeller makes much more impression by his charities which are indeed one expression of his religion. Mr. Rockefeller has always held that methodical giving was a part of a Christian's duty. Again and again he has stated this view in his Sunday school talks. “I believe it is a religious duty to get all the money you can fairly, and honestly;" he told young men one day, "to save all you can, and to give away all you can." Will they (the people of the future) say of us, we accumulated wealth” he remarked in a little Cleveland address a few years ago: "No, that will all be forgotten. They will want to know what we did with it. Did we spend it for the benefit of our fellow man? Of that we ought to think”. Such expression are often on his tongue. These are but reflections of his practice of methodical giving since his early childhood. It is evident that his giving is governed by some theory of 10% percent due to the Lord”.

Rockefeller stated in 1905, "God gave me my money. I believe the power to make money is a gift from God . . . to be developed & used to the best of our ability for the good of mankind. Having been endowed with the gift I possess, I believe it is my duty to make money and to use that money for the good of my fellow man, according to the dictates of my conscience."

What better way to prepare ourselves and our children for the Kings business than by regularly attending or teaching Sunday school. What better way for the King to do business with us but by our “cheerfully” funding His Church, Commision and Charity. Both are sure fire ways of seeking first His kingdom, and His righteousness. Free your mind about the dividends … they are blessedly assured.


Bro. Rahman

 2004/7/29 18:16Profile
rookie
Member



Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4792


 Re:

Thank of sharing Brother Rahman,
A statement from this article:
"Richard Mather, in his farewell sermon, said: Experience shows that it is an easy thing in the midst of a worldly business to lose the life and power of religion that nothing thereof should be left but only the external form, as it were the carcass or shell, worldliness having eaten out the kernel and having consumed the very soul and life of godliness."

This statement bring a Scripture to mind. "Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with the cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity." Luke 8:14

Brother Rahman I enjoyed this article of the Puritans. Can you reccommend any books on this subject?

In Christ
Jeff


_________________
Jeff Marshalek

 2004/7/31 13:26Profile
Rahman
Member



Joined: 2004/3/24
Posts: 1374


 Re:


Brother Jeff you posted;

---Brother Rahman I enjoyed this article of the Puritans. Can you reccommend any books on this subject?---


No i can't recommend any books as our Lord did not lead me in that direction ... But i have listened to every audio sermon on SI regarding Puritans, and here is a link to a Yahoo search on the subject ...

http://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=fp-pull-web-t&p=BOOKS+ON+PURITANS+AND+MONEY

i think the Puritans had the right idea about money, if not on so many subjects of Christian conduct ... No purity, no power ...

 2004/8/2 8:22Profile
rookie
Member



Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4792


 Re:

The ways of Satan tempt us through appealing to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. We have discussed some of these temptations. And there is much more to discuss in each of these categories. Yet, there is something common to all of these pursuits. All temptations require our time. Time is really the only thing we have to give. True love can only be expressed with our willingness to give our time to one another. Each breath we take is a gift from God. Yet, I fear, much of our time is spent on futile things.

I recently commited to help coach my son's Pop Warner football team. I had not played football for 30 years. I have not watched much football in the last 8 years. So in the last three weeks I have devoted a large amount of time to brush up on the fundamentals and practice 4 times each week. I have spent time watching the ESPN NFL channel. (As a side note, the commercials are filled with temptations appealing to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.)

My son who is 11 years old, mentioned to mom that he was concerned for his father. He asked mom, "Do you think that there is a chance that we might find dad sitting home watching football, drinking beer, and eating a pizza?" My son is concerned for my spiritual well being. He has seen the promotion of questionable habits that are pounded into the football watching public. I myself have, so to speak, been caught up with the things of this world. My son has witnessed where I am spending my time. I say to myself, it is only for a season. Yet, am I spending my time on futile things?

Do you see how we influence others by the way we spend our time? There is a battle being waged for our time, beware these days are evil.

In Christ
Jeff


_________________
Jeff Marshalek

 2004/8/2 12:37Profile





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