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Riches
04/28/2013
Scripture: 1 Kings 10:4-8; Ecclesiastes 5:8-12; Isa...
Track 6 of 10 in the Pipe Dream series
Running time: 1 hour, 07 minutes, 36 seconds.
Money in itself is neither good nor bad; it is simply dangerous in that the love of it may become bad. With money a man can do much good; and with money he can do much evil. With money a man can selfishly serve his own desires; and with money he can generously answer to the cry of his neighbor's need. With money a man can buy his way to the forbidden things and facilitate the path of wrongdoing; and with money he can make it easier for someone else to live as God meant him to live. Money brings power, and power is always a double-edged thing, for it is powerful to good and powerful to evil.



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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.


Ecclesiastes 5:8-6:9
Riches

There once lived a very famous queen who had paid a visit to a very rich king. She heard so much about the man’s immense wealth and lifestyle that she had to see it for herself. In fact, the reports were so excessive that the queen seriously questioned their validity. She was very suspicious but still very curious about this king whom she was going to visit.

She also had heard about this king’s wisdom. It was almost too good to be true. No one is that wise or smart. But, she decided to leave her Ethiopian palace and travel to Israel to meet with king Solomon. She had a lot of questions, tough, probing questions. He listened to every one and responded to everyone. She toured his kingdom. She ate at his table. She spoke with his servants. She observed and absorbed the whole scene.

1 Kings 10:4-8 When the queen of Sheba saw all the Wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the LORD, she was overwhelmed. She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard. How happy your men must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom!

In today’ slang, she was “blown away”…her mind was boggled. She was dumbfounded. She said she was told only half of the story. The luxury, the beauty, not to mention the diplomacy that dripped from Solomon’s kingdom stunned the queen of Sheba.

And she gave the king 120 talents of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. Never again were so many spices brought in as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

We hear so much about Solomon’s wisdom but we don’t really dwell on the wealth that Solomon’s kingdom had. His base annual income in gold alone was in the neighborhood of $20 million…not to mention his export-import trade lines and limitless perks that came from being king.

Now why have I taken this time to tell you about Solomon’s wealth? Because a person that rich knows what he is talking about when the subject of finances is brought up. Ecclesiastes 5 will share with us Solomon’s experience with money.

Ecclesiastes 5:8-12 (NIV) If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still. The increase from the land is taken by all; the king himself profits from the fields. Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owner except to feast his eyes on them? The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but the abundance of a rich man permits him no sleep.

In this set of verses, there are at least three financial principles written in between the lines of these verses. The first has to do with oppression. The second relates to dissatisfaction and the third addresses the struggle of frustration.

Oppression (8-9):
Principle: The rich tend to take charge and their power intimidates and offends the poor.

Think about this a minute. What things do the rich tend to control?

Because they have the money, they tend to take control over territory, of a province, of a nation. They tend o be leaders. They are often the best educated, the most influential, and since the tend to run with the rich, they gain control-gain control of the money, the land, the gross national product, the political arena. They usually are the ones who run the government, both state and national. They are the ones who establish the red tape procedures, those who place in office more officials who watch over another official, as Solomon puts it. Many call it “THE SYSTEM.

The major problem woven into the fabric of the system is the unaccountability and insensitivity the system has for the poor. Now Solomon is not saying that anarchy is better. We need leaders in this country. But what Solomon is concerned about is the unaccountable and often corrupt power that occurs when those with money gain total control.

What do you think is the real reason for Obamacare? What about global warming or climate change? Do you know that Maryland just passed a RAIN TAX? Why?

Dissatisfaction (10): Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.
Principle: Greed and materialism have no built-in safeguards or satisfying limits.

Notice hear that Solomon uses the word “loves” not “possesses” in verse 10. This is not an attack nor is there ever an attack in Scripture against those who possess riches. What Solomon is talking about is the “love of money”. This is an attack on greed.

What is the trap if a person loves money? What will the money mad person never see in his lifetime? Satisfaction and a time when he can sit back and enjoy it.

True or False:
Money can buy us tons of comfort.
Money can buy us contentment.

William Barclay said of money:
Money in itself is neither good nor bad; it is simply dangerous in that the love of it may become bad. With money a man can do much good; and with money he can do much evil. With money a man can selfishly serve his own desires; and with money he can generously answer to the cry of his neighbor's need. With money a man can buy his way to the forbidden things and facilitate the path of wrongdoing; and with money he can make it easier for someone else to live as God meant him to live. Money brings power, and power is always a double-edged thing, for it is powerful to good and powerful to evil.

Have you ever seen someone work a slot machine? They throw in coin after coin and if they are lucky, they hit the jock pot. What happens after they receive all the money? Why is that? How many actually say, “I have won enough?”

How much money does it tale to satisfy you? A little bit more than we have!

Frustration (11-12) As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owner except to feast his eyes on them? The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but the abundance of a rich man permits him no sleep.

Principle: With increased money and possessions comes an accelerated number of people and worries.

Think about all the times we have seen this happen. Especially when riches come to one whose background was borderline poverty. The young professional athlete is a good illustration. What is the first thing that happens to a young athlete that has made it big? He soon is seen with an entourage in front and behind him. He is driving a big car. He has four bodyguards. All of a sudden his house is full of people who are living off of his wealth that he never knew a few days before he came into wealth. Look at Elvis Presley. When did you ever see him just off alone somewhere? There was always a crowd around him; most of them were on his payroll.

The principle is like a math problem: More money = more people. More people = more worries. More worries = less sleep.

Look at verse 12. Is the principle stated there correct? What advantage does the average worker have over the rich person? If this is true, then why do people desire to be rich and leave the comfort of being an average worker?

True or False: There are two ways of solving money problems: make more money -- or diminishing your wants; either will do.

FALSE: But the best plan of all is to do both at the same time: earn more money and diminish your wants. In this way, you'll live well within your means and always have a surplus of money.

Other data show that even the poor are not really that poor, at least by historical and international standards. In an analysis of 2000 U.S. Census Bureau data, the Heritage Foundation's Robert Rector found that of those living under the poverty line:

• More than 40% of the "poor" own their own homes.
• More than half have their own air conditioning, own a car and a microwave oven.
• Approximately 90% of the poor own a color television, and 30% own two.
• Most have or own a cell phone.
• The average poor American lives in a house twice as large as a Japanese person with an average income, and four times as big as the average Russian.

A Warning To The Money-Mad:

Isaiah 22:20-25: In that day I will summon my servant, Eliakim son of Hilkiah. I will clothe him with your robe and fasten your sash around him and hand your authority over to him. He will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I will drive him like a peg into a firm place; he will be a seat of honor for the house of his father. All the glory of his family will hang on him: its offspring and offshoots—all its lesser vessels, from the bowls to all the jars. “In that day,” declares the LORD Almighty, “the peg driven into the firm place will give way; it will be sheared off and will fall, and the load hanging on it will be cut down.” The LORD has spoken.

What is the scene hear? How is what Isaiah is talking about much like the life of the rich?

Grievous Evils to Watch Out For:

• Those who have clutched can quickly crash (5:13-15) – Look at the death of a rich man. How is a dead rich man similar to a dead poor man? What are some of the evil facts about hording money?
• Those who live high often die hard (5:16-17) – There are many who once ran fast, made a pile of money and spent it fast, who also fell awfully fast and died hard. All of this was for what?