David Jeremiah - A Financial Prophecy, Economic Chaos
Stylishly bearded and wearing a baseball cap, Jowan Osterlund pulls on a pair of surgical gloves and uses a wipe to sterilize the top of his client's hand. Then, with a quick jab, Osterlund inserts a preloaded syringe into the man's skin, and the man gasps as a tiny microchip about the size of a grain of rice, and encased in a silicate glass enters his body. It invisibly embeds itself in his hand, as the man exclaims, "I'm a cyborg". So, what do you think? Is that clip from a horror movie or a dystopian television show, or could it be from the nightly news? Well, this procedure didn't take place in a dark movie or in the middle of a criminal lair. It happened in the clean and bright offices of a company in Sweden, specializing in biochips. The company is called Biohax International. It's where Osterlund is the CEO, and he estimates that he has chipped more than 6,000 Swedes during the six years his company has been in business.
The microchip that he injects into clients uses radio frequency technology, and you might have a similar chip in your dog or your cat. Chipping pets is a popular way of tracking them, if they ever get lost. Some of you probably know about that. But human microchipping is more sophisticated, and it offers a broader range of applications. The chip can be used to open secure doors or log into computers. All you have to do is just wave your hand. It can be used for contactless payments. When the chip is linked with bank or credit accounts, users can access funds by swiping their hand over the payment terminals. Actual credit cards are no longer needed. The technology has literally gotten under your skin, and it's coming soon to a hand near you. Embedded microchips will offer you a world without keys, wallets, or other encumbering items, a world where everything is accessible with just a touch.
In the future, such biochips will detect illness, monitor your vital signs, and send instant messages to your doctor. Of course, they could potentially be used to track your movements, to reveal your secrets, inform a totalitarian government what you're feeling and saying. This is both exciting and frightening at the same time. Osterlund believes his company's success is connected to Sweden's culture of embracing new technology, technology that still frightens people in other parts of the world. "The geopolitical situation historically gives us the kind of initial higher trust in the government," he said. "I think a lot of people would be way more apprehensive in a lot of countries than we are here in Sweden".
Well, I don't know about you, but I'm very apprehensive about that. It's bad enough what they can do through your cell phone. In fact, I'll tell you right now, I know enough about what's happening that you have no idea what's going on right now just with your cell phone and other devices that you have, that you think you're totally under control. Well, maybe you're thinking, "Doesn't the Bible say something about this sort of thing? Haven't I heard about something being stamped on our hands or on our foreheads"? Yeah, you have. You're right. The evolving biometric chip technology reminds us of a prophecy that's found in Revelation chapter 13, verses 16 to 17. It's a passage predicting something that will happen at the end of history during the great tribulation.
Now, having heard the story I've told you about, what's happening in Sweden, listen carefully to these words from the Scripture. "He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name".
Could the technology being produced by Osterlund and many others be a foreshadowing of this mark of the beast we read about in the book of Revelation? That's really worth considering, so we're gonna do that today. This technology is coming more quickly than we know. It's ahead of schedule, and I suspect we'll soon be facing some personal choices here in this country with regard to this technology. The appeal and the convenience of these innovations is palpable. Just think about people like me. I can't ever find my keys. They're lost most of the time. Just think about the convenience of not ever losing your keys 'cause they've sowed it into your hand. That would seem like a good thing, but the down side of it would not be worth the risk. Just think about this technology in the wrong hands. Could it lead us toward the day when a centralized government will control, attack, punish, and monitor all of us?
So, yes, without being dogmatic or alarmist, it feels like biometric chips could be a precursor of Revelation 13, and we'll look at that and its ramifications a little bit more later on in this message. But for now, I want you to consider Osterlund's claim that people in some countries might be apprehensive of having microchips or similar technologies embedded in their skin. Is he correct? Are people pushing back at invasive technology? Doesn't look like it to me. I mean, we talk about it. People say they're upset about it, but nothing ever happens. I see multitudes of people, entire nations choosing to hardwire their lives to devices and move the physical world toward digital without even looking back. And this includes digitizing our relationships, our news, our entertainment, our politics, our health, and yes, even our money.
The move toward electronic finances began back in the early 1900s. Department stores and a few gas companies began issuing their own proprietary cards. In 1946, John Biggins introduced Charge-It cards, and the Diner's Club card showed up in 1950. American Express came along in 1958, and soon thereafter credit card companies introduced the idea, very lucrative for them, of revolving credit. I hope that doesn't give you a sick feeling in your stomach when I say that. With the onset of the Internet, everything became digitalized. Today, like it or not, we're all relying on the security and trustworthiness of electronic systems and massive banks to manage our savings and handle our finances. Few people are stuffing cash under their beds anymore. They're not stockpiling physical commodities like gold, jewels, or currency, and most workers get their salaries now as direct deposits into their bank accounts, which they access through websites and smart phone apps.
We can buy almost anything we want with the click of a mouse or the tap of a finger: downloadable entertainment, mutual funds, household items, and even entire homes. Cash and checks are practically obsolete. Remember those birthday cards with the special slot for a check or a dollar bill? That's yesterday's gift. Now grandparents transfer money instantly through apps like PayPal or Zelle, and a growing number of churches collect their tithes through digital platforms. I don't have a problem with that, and it sure does make people more faithful in their giving, but it's just another illustration of how we've made this massive switch from the way we used to do things, and we seem to be moving into this era of comfort with all kinds of digital transactions.
One more item deserves mention. This is pretty up-to-date and pretty right on for right now, and that's the rise of all digital currencies, also known as crypto currencies. While national currencies such as the dollar or the Euro are officially backed by government reserves, digital currencies are decentralized. They don't have a physical foundation in gold or other tangible assets. Instead, crypto currencies exist entirely in the world of cyberspace. They are produced online, stored online, and spent online. Incredibly, there are more than 6,500 crypto currencies circulating in the world today. Now, many see these digital currencies as the wave of the future. They imagine a world where physical currency has been entirely removed and all transactions are processed digitally. Many voices are even declaring the need for a Central Bank Digital Currency, CBDC, which would be a government-backed crypto currency designed to be the legal tender of a nation or perhaps even the entire world.
More and more, people in the western world are buying, selling, and giving not with physical money, coins and bills, but through a series of touches on a small screen. We love the convenience of managing our accounts from our palms. For the most of us, this technology is still on the outside of our hand in our smart phones, but it's only two millimeters from where Osterlund would like it to be: under our skin. What does all this mean for us for the future, and is it a sign of the end times? That's the question. How does this affect the followers of the Lamb right now, today? Let's turn to Scripture for some answers. What does this mean? Well, as we've seen throughout this message, it's difficult to make definitive statements about future events. There are so many variables at play. Even when we have general principles and prophecies from God's Word to guide us, we have to be careful about turning those principles and those prophecies into specific predictions about people, places, and events.
So, I don't want to leave the impression today that a Swedish biochip is necessarily and definitively the biblical mark of the beast. I don't really believe that. But it's hard not to see some obvious trendlines, and there's one thing I can say with confidence: money will play an essential role in all of the events of the future, including the end times. There's a couple of chapters in the book of Revelation where the economic center of the world at that time, Babylon, is destroyed, and it occupies dozens of verses, talking about the destruction of Babylon, the center of monetary world.
So, money's always been important in the past. Everything connected with economics is increasingly important today, but it's driving our world. I think we can assume money will remain important in the future and that it will dominate our world even more in days to come. Get ready. So, the Bible is rich with information on this topic; specifically, Scripture reveals that money will have an impact on the end times both leading up to and during the period known as the tribulation. Let's talk about three of the most important financial signs of the end time. Number one, the addiction to money. Can you be addicted to money? Do you know anybody that's addicted to money? 2 Timothy 3:1-2 says, "But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be... lovers of money".
It's easy to think of Wall Street when we read these verses, but we also must grapple with this personally. Paul said that the end times will be a period defined by rejecting what is good and running to embrace what is evil, and much of that will be centered on an ever-increasing appetite for money. That matches what Paul had previously written to Timothy, a verse that's often misunderstand, but listen to it carefully. "For the love of money is the root of all evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows". I always like to tell people that Paul did not say that money was the root of all evil. How many of you know money's neutral? It's what we do with money that creates the issue. And Paul said in Timothy, it's not money that's evil. It's the love of money.
I want you to listen to something that John Piper wrote about this. He said, "God deals in the currency of grace, not in the currency of money". Money is the currency of human resources. So, the heart that loves money is a heart that pins its hopes, and pursues its pleasures, and puts its trust on what human resources can offer. So, the love of money is virtually the same as faith in money, belief and trust and confidence and assurance that money will meet your needs and make you happy. And there are many, many people that you and I know, that's what drives their life. They believe that if they get enough of it, if they can just get a little bit more of it, and if they can store it away, they're gonna be okay, and they'll be ready, and they can relax and not worry. And it seems like it takes them all their life to do it; and just when they get what they think is enough, they die, and they give that money to somebody else, who hasn't worked for it and usually doesn't know what to do with it, and you know the story.
There are so many people that you and I know who try to insulate themselves behind a fortress of materialism. They put their hope in money, as a means for buying protection and purpose, power, and pleasure. They wear money on their sleeves like cufflinks, so others will think more highly of them, or at least be envious of them. They invest everything in what is temporary and completely ignore what is eternal. Our addiction to wealth will only grow stronger, as we approach the end of history. So, let me just say to you today, don't let it happen to you. This is our culture, but it cannot be our character. Later in this message, I'll give you some safeguards that have helped me. You don't want to let money get control of your life. If you become addicted to money, it will ruin you and everyone around you. I've seen it over, and over, and over. It's just a sad thing to see people get addicted to money, and you know in your heart that it's going to leave them empty and sad. Every day, if you watch the news, there's a story about that, and you can study it for yourself.
Then here's another thing that seems quite interesting 'cause there's a lot of discussion about this right now, and that's the acceleration of inequality. The last days say that there will be an increasing amount of inequality, as far as wealth is concerned. As I have been saying, the tribulation is the coming 7-year period during which God will complete his discipline of Israel and bring his wrath to bear on the evil of the world. Within the book of Revelation, chapters 6 through 19, the future period of tribulation is described. It's a good thing to read Revelation 6 through 19, but don't do it before you go to bed. Read it in the morning. 'Cause if you read it at night, you will not go to sleep, I promise you. At the beginning of this section in Revelation 6, we read about things that will occur near the beginning of the tribulation, and I want you to listen to this passage carefully, and then I'll explain to you what it means.
"When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, 'Come and see.' So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, 'A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.'"
Now, that's kind of a worry statement, but what's going on here? The passage describes the seal of judgment during the tribulation, and it paints a picture of worldwide famine. The black horse is a symbol of famine, and it is a time of judgment, when resources will be sparse. Many will be thrown into abject poverty, and hunger, and despair. And the prophecy says that in those days a denarius, that's what you get paid for a day's work, it says in those days a denarius would buy a quart of wheat. A quart of wheat will sell for a denarius during the tribulation period. A quart of wheat wasn't very much. In fact, it was not enough to sustain a family. And then it goes on to say that three quarts of barley could also be bought for denarius.
Imagine a day of backbreaking labor, getting up early in the morning, going out and working your tail off, if I can use that expression, and come back and realize all you got that day was a quart of grain, and it isn't even enough to feed your family for one day. The Living Translation puts it this way. "A loaf of wheat bread or three loaves of barley will cost a day's pay. And don't waste the olive oil and wine". Now, this verse describes a period of time when basic staples and supplies will be outrageously expensive because of the broader condition of the world. We know it as inflation. We've experienced that periodically in our world's history.
One of my favorite stories about this is what happened in Germany when inflation happened. And it took so much money to buy food at the grocery store, you couldn't carry it in your car. And there's this story about a man who went to buy groceries. And in order to have enough money to buy groceries, he had to take a wheelbarrow and fill it up with money because everything was so expensive. He went to the grocery store, bought his food with all that money; and when he came out, somebody had stolen his wheelbarrow because it was way more valuable than anything that was in it. That's the kind of disparity that there will be in terms of financials in that time. The tribulation will be a period of extreme economic inequality. Most people will struggle to find basic supplies just to get through the day, that perhaps those who gave themselves most fully to an addiction of money prior to the tribulation are going to have a hard time just getting enough money to get through the day. They will continue to indulge in a luxurious lifestyle, but they won't have any way to support it.
Now, it says something here about oil and wine. It says, "Touch not the oil and wine". Oil and wine were the commodities of luxury, of well-heeled people. They didn't deal in barley and wheat. They dealt in oil and wine, and the Scripture says don't touch that. So, all the wealthy people kept all their wealth. All the poor people got poorer and poorer. It sounds like a description of socialism. Socialism cries out for equality, and they say everybody's going to be equal. Let's make everybody equal. If you study any socialist nation, you discover what a joke that is. What happens is the poor people get poorer, and the people who control the wealth get richer, and the disparity in the economy is gross. I believe that when Jesus comes back, socialism will be rampant on this earth.
So, here's another area in which COVID-19 fired up the wrong rockets. While millions of Americans lost their jobs in 2020, the net worth of American billionaires rose by 35%, from 3.4 trillion in January 2020 to 4.6 trillion in May of 2021 during COVID-19. An old saying goes like this: "The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer". And we're seeing that truth today, and we'll see it even greater of any quality, as we get closer to the tribulation. What we're seeing now, and this is on the news about every day, about the inequality of income. You know, it goes into this whole thing about privilege and why some people have some money and other people don't. Well, don't be surprised by that, because that's the front edge of what's going to happen in a full-blown way during the tribulation period. The issue of income equality will be a big driver in the tribulation chaos.
Then, thirdly, not only the addiction to money and the acceleration of inequality, the adoration of the antichrist. Just as financial addiction and rising inequality conjure up scenes of the future, the Bible tells us that a cult leader will be revealed, who will deceive the whole world and ultimately declare himself to be God. The antichrist will be the personification of charisma, and people will do anything for a glimpse of him. The Bible shows us who he really is. Revelation 13 calls him a beast rising up out of the sea. This ultimate dictator will rule the world during the last days, and he won't be alone. A few verses later, John saw a second beast, this one coming up out of the earth. This beast is called the false prophet, and he will have one supreme duty: to point humanity toward the antichrist. It will be a twisted inversion of how the Holy Spirit points people to Jesus Christ today.
In John's vision, we're told this beast had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. In other words, Satan will cause his false prophet to appear like a meek and gentle lamb, when in reality he will have the heart of a destroyer. Satan will be the power behind it all, and the antichrist will be the political leader, while the false prophet will be the spiritual leader and the economic leader, and he'll be able to accomplish incredible things like bringing the antichrist back to life after a mortal wound and enabling an idolatrous image to speak. You can read all about it. It sounds fantastic, but it's in the Bible, and it's gonna happen. The false prophet will also lead people into the worship of the antichrist. His influence will be supernatural and demonic.
For our purpose here, I want to direct your attention to the false prophet's economic power. He has two things that he does. He controls the spiritual temperature of the world and the economic temperature of the world. I want you to hear what the false prophet says at this particular time, through the prophecy of John in the book of Revelation. Revelation 13:16-18, "He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666".
I want you to think about this passage. I remember a time in a grocery store, and there was a person in front of me that had a cart that was loaded to the hilt. They got all up there. They checked all that out on the belt, got all done, and got the number, and they didn't have any money. And the checkout lady, she was very gracious, but she had to take all that away, and they had to leave 'cause they didn't have any way to pay for it. Now, here's the point. One day in the future, people are going to go to the store. They're going to fill their carts with food, and they're gonna come to the cashier to check out, and the cashier is going to say, "Please let me see your hand". And they're going to hold their hand out, and if they don't have the mark or the chip or whatever it happens to be, they'll not be allowed to buy any food.
Most people that I know who've studied this period of time believe that most of the deaths during the tribulation will be because of starvation. If you do not have the mark, you will not be able to transact any business. Millionaire and pauper, free man and slave, everyone will be compelled to receive this mark of the beast, and no one will be exempt. Without this mark, people will be unable to buy or sell anything, and economic access and opportunity will vanish for anyone resisting the antichrist and the false prophet. What will this mark be? Could it be a microchip in your hand or some other emerging technology? As we discussed at the beginning, it's possible. We don't know for sure, because Scripture does not provide details, but one thing I can tell you, ten years ago, when I started preaching on this, I could never have dreamed how believable it would be at this particular time in my career as a pastor. It's way more believable now than it was then. I believed it then 'cause it was in the Bible. I believe it now because it's in the Bible, and it's starting to happen.
What we know is this: the mark of the beast will indicate that the one wearing it is a worshiper of the beast, someone who submits to his rule. And those who refuse that mark will be traitors, and they will likely starve while on the run or be killed on the spot when they're captured. In the words of one scholar that I read about this particular period of time, what is portrayed is a tremendous union in which capital and labor are both subject to the control and direction of one man. Anyone who is outside that vast combination will be ruthlessly boycotted. No one will work for him or employ him. No one will purchase his produce or sell goods to him. Bankruptcy and starvation will face such a man.
And even more frightening, Satan and the antichrist will create a union between religion and economics during the tribulation period. There will be no room for freedom of worship, no freedom of expression or freedom of ideas, no freedom of choice. This will be the ultimate cancel culture. In other words, the entire world will be forced into a cult of massive proportions and have almost unstoppable power. The antichrist will be at the top of this cult with his false prophet by his side, and their unbending law will be, "Worship me or die". They will use economic pressure to flog those who resist them.
Now, I know that's a dire story. It's coming. I'm not making this up. It's in the Bible. I've just told you the bare minimum of the story, and I don't want you to be all freaked out over it today. I just want you to know this is what the Bible says is coming. Why do we need to know this? Because what we're seeing today in our culture is kind of like the hinting at the beginning of it. It's the front edge of it. Here's something that I wrote in one of the chapters of this book, and I hope you'll hear me carefully. The Bible says that the rapture is going to happen. It's going to happen at any time. It could happen right now during this time. There's nothing that has to take place for the rapture to occur. It's signless.
And so, what happens after the rapture? Immediately after the rapture, the tribulation begins. When the saints all go up, all hell breaks loose on earth, and all these tribulation things will happen. If we believe that the rapture could happen at any time, and we say we do, and we clap when we say it, if we believe it could happen today, what that means is all of these things that I'm talking about couldn't be any further into the future than a seven-year period, and most of them will happen in the middle of the tribulation, as we move toward the end. So, this is not just out in the future someplace. "Oh, it's so far away, Pastor, I don't want to hear". No, no, no. If the rapture is signless, if it's imminent, and it could happen today, all of these could happen in the tomorrows after that today. Thank God, we won't be here. We'll be in heaven, but those things will be happening on this earth.
Listen, there's a little law of prophecy that I'll just give you. You can write it down 'cause it's really important, and here it is. Future events cast their shadows before them. In other words, things are gonna happen in the future, cast a shadow backwards this way. You can see the beginning of the reality through the shadow of what has happened. So, keep your eyes open. Listen carefully to what people say, especially in this area where human identification is being discussed more and more every day.
So, let me give you some things that you should be thinking about. I hope you will do this. First of all, determine to count the cost. Determine to count the cost. In Luke 14, we read, "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it, lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish'? So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple".
Here's what I want to say to you. And maybe this comes as a strange message at a time like this, but I want you to hear it because it's true. Following Jesus carries a cost. Throughout history, many Christians have paid that cost with their lives. Others have paid it with their reputations. Others have paid it with their convenience, their relationships, their freedom, and even their health and wealth. When Christ is everything, everything else is nothing in comparison. Maybe you've not lost your wherewithal and your life. Many of you are probably paid minimal cost to follow Christ. You know, our circumstances could change; and at some point, they will change, probably sooner rather than later. I feel them starting to change right now with all that's going on in our schools, with what's being pushed on us in the corporations. With big tech and all of this, I feel the icy fingers of that reaching out to grab hold of us and gravitate us toward the center.
As the world veers further away from God's values, and as time moves closer toward Armageddon, we'll arrive at a moment when proclaiming the name of Jesus requires a sacrifice, even a significant sacrifice, maybe everything. But wouldn't you rather have Jesus than anything the world affords? I mean, let's take this moment and count the cost realistically but optimistically. We can place on one side of the scale all the trappings of the American dream and the modern way of living: our riches, our possessions, our comfort, our career, and so on. And on the other side of the scale, place the incredible, unthinkable blessing of eternal life in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior. Which one do you choose? Think about it. Be determined that whatever happens, when the time comes, and it may not come in your lifetime, but when the moment comes when you have to decide for Jesus or for the world, which is where you live now, count the cost. The Bible says we need to count the cost as if we were building a tower, and lest we fall short in the midst of the process.
Number two, determine to count the cost and determine to be confident. The wonderful news about living for Jesus is that not only can we experience the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God, we can also feel confident in the reality of God's presence right now. No matter what cost we may pay to follow Christ, we will never sacrifice our connection with him. The author of Hebrews put it this way. "For he himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' So we may boldly say, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me'"? The confident Christian knows that he stands in a place of security. He cannot be touched by anything the Lord will not allow. The confident Christian can stand tall in the midst of all the things that are going around him. God is enough for any and every situation he will ever face.
I love how David expressed this in his psalms. He said, "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid"? Since we have the Lord, we can never be left without a friend, or a treasure, or a dwelling place. And this should help us feel secure in the moment in which we find ourselves. When we stand in such awe of the living Lord, the lying world loses its power on us. Do what you want to do. The Lord is my confidence. I stand in him. He's promised never to leave me nor forsake me.
Number three. So, determine to count the cost. Number two, determine to be confident. And number three, determine to be content. Oh, how we need to learn this. I'll finish this message with this thought. Because God will never leave us or forsake us, we can be content with what we have. As the globe spins around us and the worship of wealth will accelerate, the Bible can keep us from yielding to these pressures. There's one incredible secret I want to give you on the authority of Scripture. I can tell you how to distance yourself from a materialistic lifestyle. It's by developing one simple biblical attitude: contentment. Two passages instantly come to mind that you should write down in your notebook if you struggle with being content. Here they are. The first one comes to us from the book of Hebrews. It says, "Let your conduct be without covetousness and be content with such things as you have". And the second is in Ecclesiastes 5:10, "He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity".
Covetousness is very subtle, folks, because it's a condition that exists in our minds. It's the invisible violation that no one else ever sees. You can have your act together on the outside, but inside you can be agonizing, lusting, and being consumed by the desire to have what someone else has. Coveting is a closeted spiritual crime that, if not checked, will eventually manifest itself externally. The writer of Hebrews tells us how to replace coveting with contentment. The word for contentment means satisfied, adequate, competent, sufficient. The same term is used in 2 Corinthians 12:9, where God told Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you".
Someone has said Christian contentment is the God-given ability to be satisfied with the loving provision of God in any situation. In other words, wherever we are, whatever we're experiencing, if we know God, we don't have to be worried about what we don't have, or what we might have, or what we wish we had. We have God. And I'll tell you what. I know people that have got everything the world has to offer, and they don't have God, and they're empty, and they don't know what life is all about, and they wish they could find the secret that some of their friends, who have very little, have found: the simplicity of contentment in the Lord Jesus.
Maybe you're worried about this. Maybe you say, "Well, Pastor Jeremiah, I don't think I was born with contentment. It wasn't one of my genes. God didn't give me contentment when I was born. He left that out of the equation. I don't feel satisfied with my life or even with my possessions, and I often find myself wanting more". Well, don't let that bother you because I learned something. Here it is, it's good news, and I want you to listen to this verse, and then I'll point out why it's such good news. Paul wrote in Philippians chapter 4, listen carefully, "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content". Let's just stop right there. How did Paul get to be content? He learned. Contentment is a learned attitude. It's not something you grow up with. I don't know any kid who's content, do you? They always want something they don't have, something somebody else has. The first time they see something they don't have, they want it. But contentment is something you learn, as you grow.
Paul wasn't born a saint. He didn't come into the world with a vast reserve of contentment. He learned contentment through experience, including both comfort and hardship. He learned contentment by honestly evaluating the value of wealth versus the value of his connection with Christ, and he learned contentment through the continual influx and influence of God's Spirit in his life. He seemed to be equally joyful staying in a friend's villa or chained in a Roman cell. Do you know what some people's problem is? Here it is. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you. You get that one? Contentment isn't outside of yourself. Contentment is in yourself, and it's an attitude that you learn. And when you learn contentment, the pull of riches and all the extra things, money then becomes just a tool. Use it for the kingdom of God. Use it for the basics and enjoy what God has given you.
The Bible wants us to enjoy our life. But if you horde resources, if your goal is to be the richest person on your street, or in your company, or in your family, that attitude will destroy you. Learn to be content with what you have; and what you have is the eternal God and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our world's approach to money is troubling. It's alarming. It's the prelude to the tribulation. But we, as Christians, don't have to follow that path. I'm going to leave you with a statement that was made famous by Anne Graham Lotz 'cause she wrote a book by this title. But here it is. I hope it's your thought. "You can take the world, but give me Jesus". Amen?