I have just finished a wonderfully fruitful week in Angola. The people are hungry and it is time for another level of God’s grace to work among His people here. I spend my time hear teaching on Hearing God’s Voice. My book Hearing The Voice has been translated into the Portuguese language and we hope to have it in Luanda, Angola by the first of 2017. We are going to continue the process of equipping and training the people here in the New Covenant life of Christ and the testimony of the power of His grace that can change every world.
Let me continue again today with addressing the values found in a culture of honor. The community of God is a culture that honors God and honors each and every human life. We cannot be like the kingdoms of the world. We must be a witness of the kingdom of God to the kingdoms of this word. Moses wrote in the Torah values that looked like commandments of God, but these things are really the attributes of the character, nature, and way of a true community of God.
Exodus 20:15 You shall not steel.
A community of God respects and values everything that belongs to another. We value what belongs to someone else. In a culture of honor, we understand that everyone has possessions. Those possessions belong to those who possess them. Those possessions are treasures and gifts given as a stewardship to each one. These are not just physical things. Have you ever been around happy people? They are always happy. Some days you may not be happy at all and you meet one of those happy people. You get angry because they are happy. You get an attitude towards their happiness and you don’t want them to be so happy. They don’t have a right to be so happy. If we are honest we will have to admit that we want to rob them of their joy. That is called steeling their possession. What about if someone is in the process of grieving? There is a time to grieve. No one should remain in grieving, but we must all know how to grieve. Some people don’t understand grieving and in inappropriate times they try to rob people of grieving.
Grief should never possess you, but there are times when you need to possess grief. I have lost loved ones and when a loved one dies God wants to give you the gift of being able to properly grieve without grief possessing you. Do you know how to cry? Some people don’t honor that and they try to make grieving people be happy. We must be careful that we don’t seek to steel another person’s possessions.
I remember when I transitioned the church to my son. I was fifty-five years old, driving a fairly nice vehicle and I had to sell my vehicle to pay my bills. I then had to drive an older vehicle. It was a small pickup truck that was over twenty years old. I had to act like a successful leader in the community, but drive my older vehicle. Other pastors and leaders were driving their new vehicles and I was driving my old one. It is not honorable for me to be envious of those who drive better vehicles. I was simply in a season of having to be responsible for an older vehicle. I had to know how to be abundant with little and abundant with much. Let’s say I was given a new BMW and a friend of mine who is my age comes and they are driving an older vehicle with dents and blemishes. It would be dishonorable for me to look at my friend’s possessions as less than mine. If I begin to judge him thinking he is not doing as good as me is not honorable. Seeking to take or to destroy what another has is not part of a culture of honor.
Why does God give us possessions? God gives us things so that we will possess them. So we will own them. He doesn’t give us things so they will own us. He doesn’t want us to be slaves to the things we possess. He gives us possessions so those things will serve us in our service. I have often heard it said that God has stored the riches of the wicked for the righteous. This is a Scriptural statement, but it is very often presented with a wrong mindset by those who are Christians. Bill Gates is a wealthy person. He is a person that people will recognize as someone who is worth a lot of money. He is wealthier than many nations. If I say, that is so terrible. That is the problem with the world. The Bill Gates of the world have the wealth of the world. That is so wrong. He should give that wealth to the poor. What a greedy person. What a wrong system we have. That kind of thinking is proving that I am not able to possess what he possesses. I am not able to manage what he has because I am not happy with what I have. I am trying to destroy his ability to possess things, because I am not possessing what has been given to me.
Not too long ago I was in a conversation with a young person who was being taught in college that rich people are bad. Her attitude was that rich people are bad people. She said, poor people are better at handling money than rich people. I said to her, that’s why poor people have so much money isn’t it? If poor people handle money better than rich people, why don’t they have the money?
Rich people handle money better than poor people, but they don’t necessarily handle life better than poor people. Money is not the greatest wealth, but it is a measure of it. I have possessions. I have friendships that are a great treasure in my life. I must take care not to starve when I am with them. I must seek to give them the value of a friend in order to keep them as friends in my life. Sometimes my wealth is my friendships. I find myself in many nations and sometimes I don’t have any foreign currency, but I have never gone without food. My friends buy me food. Some poor people could be upset with me because I eat lunch and they don’t. They might label me as wicked because I have friends that buy me lunch. Those that don’t have often judge those that have based upon their own needs. Possessions are part of a culture of honor. Friendship is a possession, but it is entrusted to those who can possess it. I have friends because I have made myself friendly. It is part of my wealth.
We don’t need to be jealous of anyone in their possessions, but to share our possessions with others. The riches for the heathen stored up for the saints is not their money given to us. We would likely waist it and cause it to dwindle to the measure we can handle. I think the true riches of the world is the world coming to Christ and brining their skill, wisdom, and ability to handle the possessions of the world for the purpose of God’s kingdom in the earth. They know how to handle money, but they need to come in to the kingdom of God to handle true riches. We are never jealous of what someone else possesses. If what they have is given to us we would probably lose it because we don’t know how to handle it. Redistribution of the wealth does not make the world wealthy; it makes everyone poor.
Maybe you have an ability to sing. In our congregation we have those who have an ability to sing. We have some people who have wanted to be on the worship team. They could open their mouths and make a noise, but they could not sing. When I was honest with them and told them they could not sing, they were angry. They didn’t possess the ability to sing. I have had many worship leaders and some have been better at some things than others. Some singers on the worship team were better singers than the leaders, but they weren’t better leaders. In a culture of honor, you have to honor what was given to you and what was given to others. There is no room for jealousy for God has given a measure to each of us for the glory of His name.
Ted J. Hanson