The rashlike preoccupation with money is a disease we need to inoculate in the secret place of prayer. That way, when cash comes into our hands we will act as stewards not slaves of the riches entrusted to us.
Jesus first, everything else follows.
As followers of Jesus, we are servants and stewards of whatever we are given responsibility for an authority over on this planet. But thinking of service because both having been through a lifetime of Ministry and then serving people in the marketplace in business, I’m always brought back to the reality that the greatest service that we can render mankind is to learn to pray. I really honestly believe that there is no greater act of service than to pray. And there’s may be incidental prayers as we go about our daily business.
But really, what I’m talking about here is going deep in prayer and going deep in our work kind of the fruit of that connection with God.
Whatever form that may take, because, see, the prayer gives us leverage that goes far beyond the natural limits, and it harnesses the powers of heaven to work in this present world, we face such an impossible task in our day and in our generation. The problems are piling up on the doorstep of virtually everyone on the planet, many of which we simply do not have answers to. We need something that goes beyond what this present world can do, can offer, can create we need something more and bringing that down to a more microscopic level.
And by that I mean, just looking at your own life or my own life. Even there, we need something bigger than ourselves to go to work, to be able to harness and see the fullness and the fruitfulness that God has prepared for us.
And I believe that going deep begins right here. As a believer, we’ve been first called to know God and then to work from that place of knowing. I love this verse in Mark 3:14. It may be that you’ve heard this before, but it’s just great to be reminded of it, and it’s talking about how Jesus, when he chosen, ordained the twelve disciples, and it said that he ordained Twelve, that they should be with Him and that he might send them forth. These men were ordained to go, but first that they were called to be and specifically to be with Jesus.
As an entrepreneurial Christian, a creative Christian, whatever you’re up to in the world, however, you are turning up to bless, help and benefit others. This lesson from the lives of the early disciples is foundational. Prosperity begins in the soul. This is how the Apostle John described it. Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers in the topsy Turvy culture that we now live in.
This equation is often inverted. The world wants to convince you that prosperity of pocket will Salve your soul and bring you the happiness that you crave. And it may for a moment render some relief. But John points out that a clean conscience and a healthy connection to God’s purposes, empowered and made possible through a healthy mind and body, are going to give you the greater, longer lasting dividends that you’re seeking. Another favourite Promise box verse that is often quoted, it fits perfectly on a postcard is Jeremiah 29:11.
Now my favourite rendering of this is actually in the NIV, for I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. We all love this, don’t we? And so we should. But what’s often excluded from the conversation is the context of this verse. Of course we all love the idea of hope and plans and vibrant, prosperous futures, but often it’s kind of not highlighted and not embraced.
That the root of this promise that we find nestled in the Book of Jeremiah is actually prayer and not just a few incidental requests deep repentant, passionate, unreserved seeking of God’s face. Jeremiah 29:12 and 13 says, literally, continuing this thought, he says, Then you will call upon me. You will go and pray to me. I will hearken to you, and you shall seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart prayer, the inner work and prosperity, the outer work are really intimately attached.
Jesus warned so clearly of the dangers that we’ll face as we negotiate our pathway through the vanity of our present age.
Mark 4:19 I’ll read from the amplified, he says, then the cares and anxieties of the world. Speaking of the fruitfulness and scope of God’s Word going to work in our life and bearing forth fruit. And he warns that the cares and the anxieties of the world and the distractions of the age.
We don’t even need to qualify these statements, do we? Seriously? I think Jesus did a quick back to the future and came and sat in our front rooms. Cayman sat in our waiting rooms. Cayman stood in the line at the supermarkets.
Cayman stood outside the school gates. Cayman sat in the office cubicles cares anxieties distractions and the pleasure and delight and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches. The craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the word and it becomes fruitless in our challenges. Creators, I think, with all of the necessities of life clawing for our attention and a trillion advert scratching for our eyeballs and ears is to keep our craving centred on Christ. It’s very easy to get caught up in the Whirlpool of worldliness that is craving other things.
And he is our treasure. Jesus is our treasure. This is the field that we sell everything so we can own it fruitful favour in His presence and intimately entwined with His plans. That is where we want to plant our feet. The richest man on Earth, I believe, is the one who has discovered contentment in the saving Grace of God, not the one slaving for a bigger barn.
I find myself way too often ruffled by the desire for other things, craving significance in all the wrong places. And I’m not talking sinful places. I’m just talking looking to other things. I mean, just as this verse says, craving the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in. Yeah, we can try and find our significance in so many different places.
I find the promised pleasures and delights of things that dollars can buy rather too convincing from my flesh. At times. Satan is an absolute devilish Alchemist as well. He takes the outward tune that the world is piping of. I don’t have enough and then stuffs it inwardly to become.
I am not enough and I tell a lie like that often enough and big enough and people believe it. What is the lie behind the law? Can a car really offer the significance that you’re seeking? Can a can of fizzy pop really deliver? The bliss that you desire?
Is our life so shallow that the right logo on our clothing can honestly make us worthy?
Jesus spoke of false glamour and deceitful riches for a reason. Deceit is not deceit. If the one who swallows the lie knows what they’re guzzling down. The very nature of deceit is that we don’t realise that we are blind to reality. And I think that this is one of the reasons to place depth of prayer and acquaintance with God as your priority.
Knowing Jesus is ultimately the only thing that really matters by nature. As creative people, we pursue things with pure intentions, but that intentionality must always be tempered by that humble connection to heaven. And if you plan to go deep, go deep in prayer first and from that place of connection, begin to create and sell, sell as an act of service to others seeking their best. Make your life count in places more significant than just your bank account. And I don’t mind like this in all of this.
This is such an odd discussion when we start talking about prosperity and money and business and all of those kinds of things, it can be quite a tangled ball. It’s like a real big heap of spaghetti because things that we say can be so easily misunderstood and there tends to be way too much weight either on one end of the seesaw or the other. And you see this titat of over imbalance. And it’s not just that we need to have balance in the sense of mediocrity, but we do need to always seek and search our heart motives in whatever we do.
And that’s why I say in this particular episode, let’s go deep in prayer and in work.
Let’s be men and women of deep abiding in Christ deep prayer, but also men and women who are productive fruitful, putting ourselves out there in the world where we can help and bless and benefit and serve other people and reap the rewards for that God’s desire is to prosper his people, but not at the cost of integrity. And it’s the kind of rash like preoccupation with money is something that we really need to inoculate ourselves against in the secret place of prayer. That way, when cash comes into our hands, we will act as stewards, not slaves of the riches entrusted to us.
Jesus first, everything else follows. Well, thanks for listening.
Hopefully, it’s been an encouragement to you today. If you want to connect any further, you can do so through my website davidleemartin.com have a great day.