This is a pretty famous story about this guy named Simon that's in Samaria. Basically, Philip goes down to Samaria and he preaches the gospel, and the whole city, tons of people get saved, and there's this guy, Simon, who basically used to be a false prophet, and he gets saved as well. Then Peter and John come there and Peter and John, they're performing these miracles.
Then if you would, turn in the Bible, in Acts, chapter 8, turn to verse 19. This is Simon sees Peter and John performing these miracles, so saying, "'Give me also this power that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.' But Peter said unto him, 'Thy money perish with thee because thou has thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.'" Basically, this guy, Simon, he thinks that he can purchase the power of God with money. He thinks that just having his money alone can somehow give him the power of the Holy Spirit or give him power with God, and Peter says, "Thy money perish with thee."
That's what I'm going to be preaching on this morning is basically not trying to be rich or not trying to serve money basically in our lives. The inspiration for this sermon was a few years ago, a friend of mine told me to listen to this guy. He was a Christian businessman, and his name was Peter Daniels. He's this multi-millionaire, multi-billionaire from Australia, and this guy, his testimony is that basically when he was 26 years old, he was an illiterate bricklayer. He's just at the bottom of the barrel, just the lowest in society. Couldn't even read or write at age 26.
He went to a Billy Graham crusade when he was 26 and he got saved. Whether he did or not, that's questionable. I believe Billy Graham's a false prophet, but when he's 26, he gets saved or possibly gets saved, and at that point, he said he had this inspiration that he's a child of the King and now he wants to do something big with his life. He said he got a dream or a vision at that point that he wanted to donate more money to charity than anyone who ever had in the entire world. Basically, his goal was to make as much money as he could so that he could donate as much money as he could to charity.
That may sound like a good thing on the surface level, that may sound like something, oh, well, he wants to donate to charity; he wants to help people, but I'm going to prove this morning that that's not the philosophy that we should be having. We should not have this philosophy that we should try to be rich, try to become a millionaire, try to make a lot of money in our life. That's not what our goal should be. There's nothing wrong with someone being rich, but we shouldn't go out of our way and try to be rich.
If you would, turn to 1 Timothy, chapter 6. This is a philosophy that's really infecting Christianity today. Obviously we've got your prosperity preachers like your Kenneth Copeland and your Joel Osteen, people like that, where they preach that you should be rich and they preach that as like that's the most important thing in life. Even people like Dave Ramsey is someone who infiltrates the Baptist church as a lot of people think Dave Ramsey's really great. He may have some good wisdom as far as managing your money, but Dave Ramsey, he's got this 7-step plan, and the final step in his plan is that you should become wealthy, and that's what he says. He says his end goal is that you become wealthy and you have a lot of money so that you can be charitable and give to people. Is that really what life is all about?
If you're in 1 Timothy, chapter 6, go to verse 3. It says, "If any man teach otherwise and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness. From such turn away."
You see, a lot of these people like these Kenneth Copelands and people like that, they teach that gain is godliness. They teach that just the fact that someone has money, that automatically makes them a godly person or, well, because God's controlling everything, if someone has money, surely it's because they're doing right in God's eyes, otherwise they wouldn't be a millionaire or whatever. Honestly, this philosophy ... and if you would, turn to Proverbs, chapter 3 ... this philosophy that teaches that we should just become rich just to help people, honestly, it's basically thinly veiled covetousness. The people who are promoting this, basically they want to be rich. They covet money or possessions, and because of that, they basically say, oh, well, I'm going to get rich so that I can help people, but obviously, they're just doing it for their own greed and for their own lust.
If you would, turn to Proverbs, chapter 3 and verse 5. What does the Bible say? Obviously, we should be trusting the Bible to learn all our doctrines. The Bible says in Proverbs 3:5, it says, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes. Fear the Lord and depart from evil. It should be health to thy navel and marrow to thy bones."
We may think that getting rich for the purpose of helping people is a good idea, but we shouldn't trust our own logic. The bible says, "Lean not unto thine own understanding." We shouldn't just trust what we think is a good idea, we should trust what the Bible says.
Richard Miller: Turn to Proverbs, chapter 14. I'll be proving from the Bible everything this morning, what our goals should be in regards to money and that thing. If you're in Proverbs 14, verse 12, it says, "There's a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." You see, you may have a good idea in your mind. You may see something that you think is a good idea, and that to you, makes sense, but it might be the end of you. That might lead to your destruction, basically just doing what's right in your eyes. That's why we got to constantly make sure every decision in our lives, we're checking the Bible and doing what God says.
If you would, turn over to Proverbs, chapter 23, I'll read to you Proverbs 28:26 says, "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool, but who so walketh wisely, he shall be delivered." Don't trust in your own logic this morning. Don't trust in your own ideas. Don't trust in your own heart or what you think is the best idea. Let's see what God's word has to say. What does the Bible say in this regard? Should becoming a millionaire, should trying to become rich so that we can bless other people, should that be a goal in our life?
If you're in Proverbs, chapter 23, go to verse 4. Proverbs 23:4, the Bible reads "Labor not to be rich; cease from thine own wisdom." That's pretty clear right there. The Bible says labor not to be rich. Yes, we should labor at our jobs. We should labor at our business. We should work hard to support our families and to provide, but should we labor to be rich? No, those are two different things. Paying your bills is one thing, but just trying to amass wealth, to just have abundance, that's something completely different and it's not something we should do.
You may say, oh, I'm going to labor to be rich, but I have a good reason why I'm going to do that. I'm going to bless people, and honestly I think it's going to be a good idea, but the Bible says, "Cease from thine own wisdom." It's not about the ideas that you have, it's not about what we think, it's about what does the Bible say. If you'll go to 1 Timothy, chapter 6, the Bible talks a lot about this subject, about people trying to become rich, and it has a lot to say about it.
Just to lay it out, I want to make clear, having riches or just being rich in and of itself is not bad. Many great men of God in the Bible were wealthy people. Abraham was a very rich man. Job was a very rich man. Boaz was a very rich man. Solomon was very rich. All these people were godly people, and even though they are wealthy, that's not the problem. The problem is when someone tries to become rich, when it's their goal to become rich.
Like I said, the Bible talks a lot about working hard at your job and laboring and we should work hard, and maybe someone works really at their job or owns a business and works really hard and maybe just through God's blessing, they end up becoming rich because of that, that's a great thing. Praise God if God blesses you with riches, but that should not be your goal. Your goal should just be to serve God, to work hard, to be honest in your business, but becoming wealthy should not be your end goal.
If you're in 1 Timothy, chapter 6, go to verse 7. It says "For we brought nothing into this world and it is not certain that can carry nothing out, and having food and raiment, let us be there with content, but they that will be rich," ... basically they that want to be rich ... it says "they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition, for the love of money is the root of all evil, which while some covet it after, they have erred from the faith and pierce themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness."
It says here that they that want to be rich fall into temptation and a snare. There's many people out there who may start out with good intentions. They may start out with wanting to make a lot of money just so that they can be a blessing to people, but oftentimes, those people will fall into temptation and a snare. They'll fall into sin, and the path of seeking out riches will actually destroy their life even if their intentions were good in the beginning.
Turn to Proverbs, chapter 28. Just a story from my own personal life I can attest to, a couple years ago, I was working at a gun store in the area and about 3 years ago, there was this shooting ... I think it was the Newtown shooting ... and basically because there's this shooting and a bunch of innocent people died, Obama was saying that they're trying to outlaw guns. Basically, there was this big frenzy and everyone kept buying up guns en masse.
This gun store that I was working at, they said that basically they were selling $50,000 a day worth of guns online. It's a pretty big store, but their whole rack was just totally gone. All their guns were sold out, and they're just making money hand over fist because of this scare, but that lasted for about a year or so, and then eventually when nothing happened, people realized everything's fine, they're not going to steal our guns this time. The scare dwindled down, and then the gun industry really took a hit at that point, and really everybody basically spent up all their money and no one had any money left to buy guns, I guess, so for about another year, it was really at this lowest point.
That's when I was working there, when it was at its low point. I remember the boss just walking around one day and he just said something, and maybe he didn't comprehend truly what he said, but he's just like, "Man, somebody needs to shoot up another one of these elementary schools so we can get some more business." That's a pretty wicked thing to say. "Hey, I hope a bunch of innocent children die so that I can make more money." You say, oh, well I don't think that guy is just a wicked person. Maybe he didn't really comprehend what he was saying, but the fact of the matter is, that's where the love of money, that's where seeking riches will drive you to this point where innocent people are being harmed, and you don't care as long as you're making money.
Richard Miller: Like I said, we should strive to pay our bills and support our families. It's not like this guy was starving and didn't have any money. His bills were paid, he's just trying to become wealthy and trying to get back to the days where he's making $50,000 every week or every day, because there was all these sales. If you're in Proverbs, chapter 28:20, it says, "A faithful man shall abound with blessings, but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent." Oftentimes, people, when their goal is to be rich, they start making haste to be rich and start cutting corners, and it leads them to other sins like gambling or stealing, things like that.
Turn to Proverbs, chapter 30. The Bible's real clear. It should not be our goal to become wealthy. Like I said, if someone just happens to be wealthy just because they worked hard and God blessed them, that's a good thing. Obviously, that's a blessing from God, but if it's our goal to become wealthy, that's what we're striving towards, that will lead us down the path of sin. That will lead us down a path of covetousness, and that will lead us down a path of committing other greater sins as well.
My next point, basically, being rich is not all that it's cracked up to be. A lot of people think that their goal is to become rich because they think that that will somehow fix all their problems, but honestly, being rich, it has its benefits, but it has its negatives as well. I heard a pastor say a long time ago, he said ... it's funny, his quote ... he said, "I know a lot of Christians, they say, 'I know riches don't buy happiness, but I'm at least willing to give it a try.'" I think that's the mentality people have. In the back of our mind, a lot of people know covetousness is wrong. They know serving money is wrong, but at the same time, they're like, "I still want it anyways."
If you're in Proverbs 30, go to verse 8. It says ... this is someone's prayer ... it says, "Remove far from me vanity and lies. Give me neither poverty nor riches. Feed me with food convenient for me lest I be full and deny Thee and say, 'Who is the Lord?' or lest I be poor and steal and take the name of my God in vain.'" It's an interesting prayer. He says, give me neither poverty or riches. This guy's saying he doesn't want to be poor to the point where he can't feed his family, he has to steal just to provide, but at the same time, he says he doesn't want to be rich either, and in verse 9 he says, "Lest I be full and deny Thee and say 'Who is the Lord?'"
Oftentimes, people ... and turn to Deuteronomy, chapter 8 ... oftentimes, people when they become wealthy, when they get great riches, they become lifted up in pride and they forget about God.
Richard Miller: Nebuchadnezzar was someone like that. He basically, when he was reigning over the whole world and he was a king over many kingdoms, he got lifted up in pride. He thought that he was the one who had done all that, and God had to abase him seriously after that had happened.
If you're in Deuteronomy, chapter 8, this is the children of Israel ... this is Moses preaching to them ... and if you're in Deuteronomy, chapter 8, go to verse 10. It says, "When thou has eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which He hath given thee." Basically, God was saying that He was going to take the children of Israel out of Egypt, He was going to take them out of the wilderness, put them in the Promised Land, and He was going to bless them if they served Him, and He was going to bless them financially and give them things like that.
But it says in verse 11, he says, "Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God and not keeping His commandments and His judgments and His statutes, which I command thee this day, lest when thou has eaten and art full and has built goodly houses and dwelt therein, and when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all of thou hast is multiplied, then thy heart be lifted up and thou forget the Lord thy God which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt from the house of bondage, who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein fiery serpents and scorpions and drought, where there was no water, who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint, who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that He might humble thee and that He might prove thee to do the good at the latter time, and thou say in thine heart, my power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth, but thou shalt remember the Lord thy God for it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth that He may establish His covenant which you swear under thy father's as it is this day.
God's saying here that even the children of Israel, His chosen people in the Old Testament, that even they ... This ended up happening, but God basically predicted it that God was going to bless them for their righteousness, but then after they get blessed, after they have abundance, after they have great riches, then they get lifted up in pride, then they think that it's through their power that all these things happened, and then they basically forget God.
That's something that we got to make sure doesn't happen to us. God may bless us financially or bless us in other areas, make sure that you don't forget God just because He's blessed you, just because things are going good in your life. Oftentimes, people seek God when things are going bad, but we got to make sure we seek God at all times, not only when things are going good. Don't be lifted up with pride. Remember, the Bible says every good gift and every perfect gift is from above. Every good thing that we have comes from God, and let's not forget that. Stay humble.
If you would, turn to Ecclesiastes, chapter 5. I'll read to you while you're turning there. From Proverbs, chapter 1, verse 32, says, "For the turning away of the simple shall slay them and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them." You see, a lot of people who are foolish, God blessing them financially, then becoming a millionaire might be the worst thing for them. It might actually destroy their life. Like I said, a lot of people, they have this attitude that maybe somehow becoming wealthy will fix all of your problems and that it'll make everything good for you, and being wealthy may fix things for some people in certain areas, but for a lot of people who are foolish, having great riches would destroy their life and make things bad for them. If you think of all these people who win the lottery and then it just corrupts them and it destroys their life and they're living in poverty afterwards. There's many testimonies of people like that who won the lottery and it destroyed them.
Another person I was thinking of is Mike Tyson. Mike Tyson was a real famous heavyweight boxer, and they said that in his career, he made about $400 million dollars in his career. Over the course of fighting for about 15 or 20 years, he made $400 dollars in that timeframe. You'd think that's such a great amount of money that it's like, you probably think you can't even spend that much money ... what are you going to spend all that money on ... but actually, not only did he spend all of his money, he actually filed for bankruptcy, and he was about $23 million dollars in debt. He went from being $400 million in the positive to $23 million in debt, and basically him becoming rich, because he's obviously a fool with his money and in other areas, it destroyed his life.
If you just think about it, if an average person just making say $40,000, $50,000 a year, it wouldn't even be humanly possible for them to get $23 million dollars in debt, because nobody would lend them that much money. They may get $23,000 in debt or something, but the only way that you could get that much in debt is if somebody lent you a ton of money. Obviously, I guess a lot of people did, and he just wasn't good at paying them back or something and, basically, that made him go bankrupt and destroyed his life because he was a fool.
If you're in Ecclesiastes, chapter 5, read verse 12. It says, "The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much, but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep." See, a lot of people think that having riches will make their life better or somehow just make everything work out for the better, but it says here, "But the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep." Some people when they get money, it doesn't make them happier, it actually makes them less happy.
Basically, a story I can think of is I know a distant relative of my wife's is a multi multi-millionaire. He's really successful in business. He lives up way up in North Scottsdale in this crazy locked-down compound where you have to go through guards to get in. I have no clue how much money he's worth, but I heard his house was $4 or $5 million dollars when they built it. He's worth a lot of money. He's a very wealthy man. This verse is totally true. He's the most paranoid person I know. He's scared to death of getting his identity stolen at all times. He's told me, "Hey, do you do online banking?" I was like, "Yeah." He's like, "Make sure you have a dedicated computer in case someone hacks you," and all this stuff. He's very paranoid about people stealing his money.
I'm not that paranoid, because honestly, if somebody steals the couple hundred bucks that's in my bank account, I'll just earn it right back. It's not that big of a deal. It's not the end of the world, but obviously if this guy's got millions of dollars socked away in some bank somewhere and somebody steals that, that is a big deal. That is a big thing that you can't just get back. Honestly, sometimes a lot of people think that amassing great wealth, becoming rich, will make them happy, but it might just make you paranoid. It might just make you hold on to that money, that that's the most important thing in your life, and it obviously might just strip you of your joy and make you less happy.
If you would, turn to Mark, chapter 12. Another reason that people want to become wealthy is they say ... and this is the one that that guy Peter Daniels was talking about, he said his goal was he wanted to donate more money to charity than anyone ever had in the history of the world. He wanted to be the biggest giver ever, give away millions of dollars, give away billions of dollars. I guess he wants to just impress God or make God happy. I guess he thinks God will be pleased if he donates all this money to charity to support missionaries or just to support whatever. That's how he wants to get favor with God and do what's right for God, but honestly, is that really what makes God happy?
If you're in Mark, chapter 12 ... I think this is a really interesting story ... if you're in Mark, chapter 12, go to verse 41, Mark 12:41. The Bible says, "And Jesus sat over against the treasury and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury. Many that were rich, cast in much." This is basically people who are very rich and they're casting a lot of money in their treasury. They're throwing down $10,000 at a time. They're throwing down $100,000 at a time. They're throwing a lot of money into the treasury for the temple, but what does Jesus notice?
In verse 42 He says, "And there came a certain poor widow and she threw in 2 mites, which make a farthing. And He called unto Him His disciples and sayeth unto them, 'Verily I say unto you that this poor widow hath cast in more in than all they which have cast into the treasury. For all they have cast in of their abundance, but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.'" So guys, here are saying, am I impressed with the millionaire that cast in a few $100,000? No. He says, you know who God's impressed with? The poor widow woman that all she has is 2 mites, just a small amount of money ,and she cast that into the offering plate.
I tried to look up what a mite is. It says it's 2 farthings. The Bible, I think it says 2 sparrows are sold for a farthing, so I tried to look up how much a sparrow cost. I don't know, maybe $10 or $20 bucks. Anyway, she's donating $50 bucks or something, maybe less, I don't know, but basically these rich people are donating a lot of money, and this lady just seems like she has $50 left in her bank account, and she just gives God that $50 bucks, and that's what Jesus points out, and that's what Jesus is impressed with. You say, oh, I'm poor, I'm an illiterate bricklayer that doesn't have any money, and I really want God to be pleased. Should I make a lot of money so that I can donate a lot? No, no, no. If you really want to make God happy, if you're poor and you really want to make God happy, just give the little bit that you have, and He'll be way more impressed with that than going out and making a bunch so that you can donate a bunch.
Congregation: Yeah. Right.
Richard Miller: What's really funny is these people who say they want to become wealthy so that they can give to charities or whatever, I think it would be impressive if someone went out, made a million dollars, lived off of $30,000 a year and donated $970,000. That would be impressive. That would be a great sacrifice, but is that what these people are doing? No, they're making a million dollars a year, they're donating maybe $200,000 or $300,000 and they're living off of $700,000. That's not really a sacrifice. That's not really difficult to be living off of only $700,000 a year. I wouldn't really think that God's that impressed that you're being so humble by only living off of $700,000 a year. Like I said, this is Dave Ramsey's 7th step in his plan. His 7th step is to become wealthy so that you can donate a lot of money to people, but basically like I said, God's more impressed with the poor person who donates the little that they have and who makes a great sacrifice than the rich person who donates a lot but it's not that big of a deal to them because they have so much abundance anyways.
If you would, turn to Luke, chapter 10. Luke, chapter 10, honestly, I think we'll get more done for God if we just focus on serving God ourselves. Don't focus on making money. This is another thing that guy Peter Daniels said. He said there's all these missionaries out there who just want to serve God. There's all these people out there who just want to go to the mission field. They just want to preach the gospel. They're ready to go. They're sitting there waiting, but there's no one to pay for them. There's no one to support all these missionaries, so we really need Christians to be millionaires.
This guy travels around to different churches all over the world basically preaching them how they can be a successful millionaire as well so that they can support all these missionaries so that somehow the gospel will be preached to all these distant nations, because all these millionaires will have the money to support all these missionaries that are just chomping at the bit, but these missionaries just can't get sent out to the field just yet, which is silly though if you think about it.
If there's all these missionaries chomping at the bit to go out to the mission field, you'd think there'd be an overabundance, a surplus of preaching the gospel in America where it'd be like, oh, America's getting the gospel too much and we want to send these people to the foreign field, but we just don't have the money, so it's like, there's too many people preaching the gospel in America. Every door keeps getting knocked every month and people are getting annoyed. I don't think that's really happening in America. I think in America, where getting the gospel out is free basically, it's not really getting done either.
If you're in Luke, chapter 10, go to verse 1 Luke, chapter 10, it says, "After these things, the Lord appointed other 70 also and sent them 2 and 2 before His face into every city and place whether He himself would come. Therefore, said He unto them, 'The harvest truly is great but the laborers are few. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest that He would send forth laborers into His harvest." Is Jesus saying, oh man, there's so many people that want to preach the gospel. There's so many people that want to go into full-time evangelism or full-time missionary or whatever, but oh, we just don't have enough money. No, He said the harvest is great, he said, but the laborers are few.
Congregation: That's right.
Richard Miller: There's very few people who want to preach the gospel.
Congregation: Yep, right.
Richard Miller: Honestly, Pastor Anderson has preached this many times. I know when he was a teenager, he actually lived in the houses of different missionaries for a few months, and he said that basically the majority of missionaries are a joke and that they're not really going soul winning, not really getting anybody saved. I believe it. I remember a couple of years ago, I was in a church and they had this missionary who they were supporting come in to preach a sermon. This guy was a missionary to Spain. He gave his little report of how things are going, and I guess his problem was he had been there for, I think, a year or something and then Spain wasn't really renewing his visa, and he's like, "Pray for me that my visa gets renewed so I can go back there."
He had started a small church, it was a few people going to it, which is fine. It takes time for growth, but they had a question and answer time for the guy, and it's funny. Someone raises their hand in the front row, and they go, "Hey, how much soul winning, do you go soul winning out there?" I'm thinking in my head like, "Yeah, great question." The guy's like, "Well, in Spain, we don't really do door-to-door soul winning. We just try to get to know people," he's like, "like my butcher, for instance. I'm working on him. I'm befriending him. Hopefully I'll invite him to church some day and hopefully then he'll receive the gospel."
That excuse is so lame. People are people. There's people in this church who weren't born in America. There's people in this church from almost every continent in the globe. People are people. Cultures change, but honestly, even in America, knocking on someone's door and confronting them with the gospel can be awkward. Some people don't like that. Some people are offended, but people still get saved. That's the best way to get people saved is to just go door-to-door soul winning, and this whole, you got to get to know people for a year, 2 years before you finally preach them the gospel. It's a scam. It's not true. People aren't going to become more receptive to the gospel just because you got to know them. If you're a bad person they may not be receptive to it, but getting to know someone for a year and not preach them the gospel, it's not really going to matter all that much. A lot of these missionaries that are over there, they're not doing all that much.
If you would, go to Matthew, chapter 9. This whole theory that we just need Christian millionaires to pay for all these missionaries to get the gospel to the world, it's a total joke. It's a total lie. There's no truth in that statement whatsoever. If you're in Matthew, chapter 9, go to verse 35. Matthew 9:35 in the Bible reads, "And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the Kingdom and healing every sickness and every disease among the people, but when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them because they fainted and were scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd. Then sayeth He unto the disciples, 'The harvest truly is plentious, but the laborers are few.'" Pray for more millionaires so we can send out missionaries and ... oh, wait, oh. Sorry, that was the NIV.
It says, verse 38, "Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest that He will send forth laborers into His harvest." I would suspect that nothing's changed between the time that Jesus was around to the time today. The problem back then that Jesus had was that there was too many people willing to get saved and not enough people to preach the gospel. He did not have a problem of too many people wanting to preach the gospel and not enough money to somehow support these people full-time or something like that.
Honestly, preaching the gospel, yes there are people who get paid, like a pastor, who get paid, and they're preaching the gospel because they're getting paid or someone who is a legitimate missionary, but honestly, preaching the gospel is free to the average person who's just preaching the gospel week-in, week-out, every year, whatever. If you would, go to 2 Corinthians, chapter 9, 2 Corinthians, chapter 9. Basically, if we're going to pray for something, we shouldn't necessarily be praying for more money so that the gospel can be spread. If we really want to pray for something that will get the gospel out there, we need to pray for more soul winners, pray for more laborers, pray for people to be able to go soul winning more and do more works. That's what's really going to matter.
If you're in 2 Corinthians 9, go to verse 17. It says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. All things are passed away. Behold all things are become new, and all things are of God who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation, to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ as though God did beseech you by us. We pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God."
Honestly, the Bible says God has given unto us the ministry of reconciliation. God's just given that duty of preaching the gospel to people and to all Christians. You don't have to be some special missionary who's paid full-time to preach the gospel. Anyone who's saved can do it. Honestly, the gospel is going to get spread a lot more when everybody just does their part. If you just focus on giving the gospel to people, just going soul winning regularly, that's going to do a lot more for the Kingdom of God than you focusing on making a whole bunch of money so that you can pay one person to go soul-winning full-time.
A lot more is going to get done when every single person just does a little part, every single person just does their part. Even in your life, you're going to accomplish more for God when you just decide to go soul winning, when you just decide to do your part rather than you making a whole bunch of money so that you can pay for other people to go soul winning, because oftentimes, you don't know what these people are doing, things like that. That's what's most important.
If you would, go to Matthew, chapter 6. In conclusion, what should be our goals in life? Should we seek to become a millionaire? Like I said, the Bible is clear. If you try to become rich, oftentimes that will destroy you. People who desire to have great riches, that can mess up their life. That can cause them to be destroyed. It can be a big problem. If someone just happens to be wealthy just because God blessed them or because they worked hard, hey, that's great. That is a blessing from God. The Bible talks about God blessing people financially, but when it's your goal to be rich, that's when you start to fall into sin and bad things happen.
If you're in Matthew, chapter 6, go to verse 33. This is the famous verse. It says, "But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you." All these things referring to food and clothing, basically, God's going to provide your basic necessities if you seek first the Kingdom of God and you make that your priority. If we seek money first, you're probably going to waste your life, and at the end of life, you're going to have no rewards in Heaven, but if you seek first the Kingdom of God or seek things that God cares about, then you'll be blessed.
I'll just read you a couple more verses. Hebrews 13:5, it says, "Let your conversation be without covetousness and be content with such things as you have; for He has said, 'I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.'" Be content with the things you have. Don't desire great riches. Focus on serving God. Lastly, I'll say it one more time, Proverbs 23:4, "Labor not to be rich. Cease from thine own wisdom." You may think that you becoming a millionaire is somehow going to benefit your life or benefit the lives of others, but the Bible says, "Labor not to be rich."
Don't make that your goal. If it happens, it happens, great, but don't make it your goal to become wealthy. Don't serve money with your life. Even if you have good intentions, even if in your own mind you think you're doing what is right, the Bible says, "Cease from thine own wisdom." Don't think what you think is a good idea, do what the Bible says, "Don't labor to be rich." Don't make it a goal to be rich in your life, make it a goal to serve God and do what's right, and let God handle the finances and bless you as He sees fit.
Let's close in prayer. God, just thank you for Your word that we have the wisdom of Your word to rely on, that we don't have to rely upon our own wisdom, and just thank you for blessing us. You promised that You would give us food and raiment, and then thank you for blessing us with just the basic necessities of life if we seek You first. Please bless this church, God. Help us to seek You first as a church. Help us to get multitudes of people saved and to do great things for You with our lives, God, and in Jesus Christ's name, we pray. Amen.