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The Gospel From Patmos
Everyday Insights For Living
From The Last Book Of The Bible
Daily Devotional
Wednesday, August 24, 2016

And he [the land beast] controls everyone; the small and the great, the rich and the poor, the free and the slave; so that he might place a mark upon their right hands or upon their foreheads, so that no one might be able to buy or sell except the one who has the mark, the name of the beast or the number of his name. Rev 13:16-17.



The economic temptation in this passage is not only an event of the End-Time, it has been relevant to real life throughout Christian history. For example, John Chrysostom regularly criticized the wasteful use of wealth. He lived simply even as bishop of Constantinople. In the process he alienated other powerful bishops and the political elite, ultimately leading to his banishment and death. The wealthy Olympias freely gave her money to the poor despite opposition. Her continuing support for Chrysostom and his positions finally led to her own banishment and the seizure of the remainder of her wealth.

Economic compromises are common in our society. One Christianity Today interview suggests that bankruptcy rates are 18.6 per cent higher in counties with casinos. Suicide rates are four times higher in heavy gambling areas. Nevertheless, the government gets major benefits from gambling and the gambling industry gives money to churches and charities to keep them quiet. Money talks and many people listen, even to the compromise of their souls.

In many denominations ministers are hired, fired and paid by local church boards. In such an environment there are financial implications in every sermon. For example, a young man found Christ by talking with a street preacher. He went back to his home church and asked his pastor why he had never explained genuine conversion from the pulpit. The pastor noted that he had to be careful what he preached lest he offend the deacons. When our economic livelihood is at stake, it is hard to look the truth in the eye. It is easy to make adjustments to our message in order to keep the salary flowing.

Do we dare take this a step further? When we buy something we don't need because our neighbors have one, are we compromising with the world's value system? Can we be frivolous in our spending when we know that 40,000 people die every day of starvation? When we find out that fifty cents can provide food for a child for a whole day in some famine-stricken countries? When we realize that the overtime we worked for that squandered money could have been spent with our children or sharing Christ with a neighbor?

Revelation does not allow for divided allegiance. We have to decide between God and the world and between what each side values. We are citizens of a different kind of kingdom.1



Lord, I place all I have at Your disposal. Teach me how to use it to Your honor.



1Based on Keener, 364-366.


 
 
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