RICH MAN, POOR MAN

Last week London, Ontario grocery store clerk Bonnie Preece won $20.6 million in the 649 lottery.  She was making $12.30 an hour and now she has over 20 million dollars to live on.  I feel sorry for her.  Winning the lottery almost always ruins people.  William “Bud” Post won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania lottery in 1988.  A former girlfriend successfully sued him for a share of his winnings. His brother was arrested for hiring a hit man to kill him, hoping to inherit a share of the winnings. Other siblings pestered Post until he agreed to invest in a car business and a restaurant in Sarasota, Florida.  Both ventures failed.  Within a year, he was $1 million in debt.  Then he went to jail for firing a gun over the head of a bill collector.  He eventually declared bankruptcy.  Now he lives quietly on $450 a month and food stamps.  “I wish it never happened. It was totally a nightmare,” says Post.

It is not being rich that destroys people.  It is what it does to their attitude that ruins them.  Proverbs 18:23 says, The poor man uses soft entreaties, but the rich man answers roughly.  This should invoke the mental picture of a lowly servant speaking softly when making a request knowing he has little clout.  The wealthy man on the other hand has financial power behind him and speaks in a demanding and condescending way.  Donald Trump’s Apprentice comes to mind.  The upstart young entrepreneurs answer The Donald carefully hoping to win his favour.  Trump barks back at them, “As project manager, the failure is yours and yours alone, you were disorganized and sloppy, you will never make it like that in this business, you’re FIRED!”  For some strange reason the masses are entertained by this demeaning, egotistical and self-important display of power.  How is it that this old school buffoon is being held up as the model and a mentor for today’s executives?

The bigger question is; who are we supposed to be?  The rich man or the poor man?  Jesus answered the question in the beatitudes when he said, Blessed are the poor in spirit,  for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.  He didn’t say it was good to be poor, but poor in spirit.  Irrespective of our wealth we should strive to maintain the gentle entreaty of the poor instead of the harsh dismissiveness of the rich.

 

When I was a young pastor one of the big name American TV preachers came to our church.  He arrived in his own Lear jet and taught brilliantly on loving the non-christian in order to bring them to Christ.  The next day I was privileged to join him for lunch.  To my shock and amazement, he was so rude to the waitress I was embarrassed.  After we left the restaurant, I secretly returned and apologized to the waitress explaining to her that he was an idiot who didn’t know any better.  It was after the experience I stumbled upon Proverbs 18:23, The poor man uses soft entreaties, but the rich man answers roughly.  I realized that this preacher had taken on the spirit of a ‘rich man’.  I decided right then and there that I was going to strive to live by the spirit of the ‘poor man’.  It is not easy for me.  I realize I am an outspoken, opinionated A type personality. 

I slipped up this past weekend.  About a year ago a young man in our church saw me eating a cupcake.  He said, “Hi, Cupcake”.  It felt it was totally inappropriate and disrespectful but I let it go and jokingly said, “That’s Pastor Cupcake to you.”   After a very demanding and busy Sunday service this week he passed me and again said, “Hi Cupcake”.  I snapped at him and said, “DON’T CALL ME THAT… IT’S NOT FUNNY!”  As soon as I had walked away I realized I had gone ‘rich man’.  When I turned around to apologize for my harshness he was gone. 

Jesus was the King of Kings and yet He came into the world literally and figuratively as a poor man.  The only times he raised his voice He was yelling at the weather, demons or the occasional dead person.(Dead people are hard of hearing).  We all have to decide what kind of people we want to be.  Our world already has enough boorish and mean-spirited people.  We should strive to live to a higher standard… ironically that of a ‘poor man’. How is our grocery clerk multi-millionaire going to make out.  Well, the first thing she said was, “I have a message for my ex-husband… SUCKS TO BE YOU!”

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34 Responses to RICH MAN, POOR MAN

  1. Evelyn Bennett says:

    Wow being the first person to respond the only thing I have to say is this if you are fortunate to get through life without any baggage to contend with you are the richest person in the world.

    We are too distracted coveting other people that we forgot the real reason why God wanted us to live without focusing on material possessions; he wanted us to see that there is more to life than money. How bout the blessings – the fruits of the spirit.

    If you reach the point of being satisfied I bet you it will not be because of how much wealth you do have.

  2. Phil says:

    You’re right! The rich frequently are harsh and rough in their treatment of those poorer than themselves but I know my fair share of non-rich who act the same way. You don’t have to have money to look down on others. We all need an attitude adjustment sometimes. The real problem is when we get caught up in our own self-importance (money, position etc). It seems to me that people who get carried away by their own self-importance have a long way to walk, to get back to the path of godliness.

  3. Steve says:

    Love Donald’s hair. Ha ha! And the squirrel with attitude. I’ve known one rich guy who didn’t act like he was rich. He wasn’t a Christian but what a down to earth guy for someone with all that cash. He’d give someone the shirt off his back. I wish I could say the same for the wealthy Christians I’ve met.

  4. Steve says:

    Sorry, I can’t say that. There was a very generous, wealthy Christian I’ve met as well.

  5. Hi Pastor Mark …….john

  6. Janessa says:

    Yes indeed our attitudes hinder the way we treat others, especially when our attitude involves thinking higher of ourselves than we ought to. I wonder then, if God doesn’t allow some of us to become wealthy in order to help us stay humble servants of Christ…

  7. sadie says:

    i always was envying my neighbor,,,even though i new we had more money,,, a bigger house,,, takeout food dailey,,,,the better cars,,,,for i new she had dinners at the table with her family,,,we;d all go our seperate ways in our vast of vehicles while i watch as they all cram in theirs to go somewhere together…..you see i would of traded all my wealth to have what she had ,,,a little house called home,,,meals together,,,outings together,,praying together,,,,amen!!!

  8. Rob S. says:

    We all appreciate your transparency Pastor Mark, yes indeed you are human just like your flock (in which I have tremendous respect). In this day and age it remains a constant struggle to walk in true humility when entrusted with position, title and stature as it is completely contrary to the teachings and sinful nature of this fallen world. Your servant heart and attitude is the difference that sets you and your flock apart from this world overflowing with greed and lust, and a reflection of Christ’s nature that overcame the world!

  9. Joy says:

    I have been without money most of my life, and wonder if the reason I don’t buy lottery tickets is because I am afraid of the type of person I may become with money. So I will just keep plugging along and make money the old fashion way—working that is. Great message Pastor Mark.

  10. Victoria says:

    Well I got a couple of shockers for ya’ll
    ….firstly, “With great power,comes great responsibility” as spoken by Peter Parkers uncle, to Spiderman. Pastor Mark has a responsibility to his people and congregation to practice forgiveness,( for his response to feeling insulted by the guy who called him cupcake!) He duly noted that and is trying his darndest to acknowledge his mistake.
    Just another example of how we are all weak at moments, and how easy it is to correct our behavior. When I blame one of my children for the mistake of an other child, and I realize what I have done… the first thing I do, is get down on my knees to look into my childs eyes, and apologize to him, and remind him that I made a mistake and am truly sorry. This behavior modification that I now practice ,has earned me incredible respect from my children.

    Secondly…to make a long story short, I won the lottery close to my 19th birthday, but I was in the car with my father getting a ride home from an early family dinner. (He had clearly gotten away with incest and molestation as I never told anyone until I caught him with my firstborn.Then I moved away to a new city ,and have not spoken to him, or any related family members for over 11 years.) I looked at the ticket in disbelief…. my self esteem was so low, my mind could not accept that I won 2,000,000. I convinced myself and the guy at the store it was for 2 dollars…until he threw me a tooney and repeated, “just call them!”
    Talk about a stunned bunny I was….anyhow as we drove away my father said I should give the ticket to him… and once on the highway,I realized he was trying to get a winning ticket from me….so I ripped it up into pieces and threw it out the window. Boy did he freak out…. I knew he would have killed me as he had already attempted to, many times in my life. (I spent my baby years in foster care with supervised visits, because of such “accidents”)
    To this day, I know that I did the right thing, because not only for my safety, but the safety of the children he would continue to hurt.
    Money is the root of all evil, when I have money, I spend it ALLl on my family or other people….to the last dime. When I have too much of it, I give it away…being successful again scares the crap out of me….I am happy to have the gifts Gods bestowed upon me, and give thanks for being here often.
    Victoria

  11. Betty says:

    There was a time, I wished we would win a 649 ticket, but to tell the whole world and for the security reasons, I did not want to deal with that, so I have come to depand on God more this way, especialy in more difficult times and since HE PROMISED to provide for us, everything we need, it’s amazing, how far a few dollers go.
    I believe in taking good care of the things God has provided for us, so we had someone build a smaller house for us, this way we can keep it in good condition, and we enjoy our place.
    Sometimes when I look at the people that have a bigger house and vehicle, then those that do not have as much, it looks like the people with not so much are happier and more generous.

  12. Karen says:

    I think it is interesting how often 1Timothy 6:10 is misused. I do it myself, forgetting that it is the “love of money” that is evil. Money itself can’t do anything to us. It’s our attitude toward it and what we do with it that counts.
    Why are we trying to keep up with the Jones’ when the Jones’ are possibly broke? We need to remember that guys like Donald Trump are paying for their own TV shows to make more money. (too bad he can’t afford a good haircut) Not only do we need to keep money in the perspective it needs to be in, but we need to keep the people who have it in the right perspective too. How many friends would Trump have if he suddenly lost EVERYTHING?
    Donald Trump is a great example of greed. There are plenty of rich Canadian Christian businessmen out there that are making a difference by using their money. Why can’t they be our example instead? Who defines what “rich” is anyway? Maybe if we changed OUR worldly definition of what rich is and replaced it with what God’s definition of what rich is, then we wouldn’t be so enamored with Donald Trump and his carrying on.

  13. Sandi says:

    As far as finances go, I’ve come to realize that everything I have is God’s. No matter how little I have, tithing is my top priority, even if I think I’m not gonna make it the rest of the month. Funny thing is, God always makes up the difference in the most creative ways. There shouldn’t be anything left at the end of the month, but somehow, there always is.

    A few months ago, I read the book, “The Storehouse Principle.” It completely changed my perspective on finances. I learned that my car is His, my living accommodations are His, even my food is His. All the money–no matter how much or how little I have–is His. (Not just the tithe.) It made me think: if all of those things are His, then how can I glorify Him with them? How can I use them to be a blessing to others? How can use what I have to serve others? If they’re His, then how does that change how I take care of them? Am I giving to others as He prompts me to?

    God is my Source, and knowing that I’m managing His money really challenges my perspective on how I use it. I’ve been noticing that the more diligent I am in following His leading in how I handle it, the more he has been increasing my finances, and making what little I do have stretch farther.

    Do I want significant financial increase? You bet I do. And I know it’s coming. It’s like the parable of the one, five and ten talents. If I use God’s money diligently and follow His direction, He WILL increase it. God also knows my heart and my motives for wanting increase. He knows if it’s to be self-seeking, or if it’s to serve others.

    Can a person still be wealthy and have a humble servant’s heart? I think so, but it wouldn’t be easy, because the enemy always seeks to pervert and destroy what God intended for good. It would be so easy to take our eyes off of God and put it on our wealthy status, and adopt the attitude that because of our wealth, we deserve to be served and exalted and catered to, when really, it should be the other way around. “To whom much is given, much is expected…”

  14. Steve says:

    Creflo Dollar likes to dance on people’s tithe at the front of the church to get the anointing. He also has accepted either 10 million or 30 million, I can’t remember from Evander Holyfield. Holyfield has had all kinds of money problems lately but he’s going to keep tithing so Creflo can pay for his 2 million dollar apartment, his lear jet his two rolls royces and his 3 million dollar home. I know Creflo is going to help Evander out when he loses all his money following Creflo’s false teachings. I’ll be glad if Evander loses his millions because it’ll give God a chance to fill him up again with what he really needs, riches only God can give him. Jeremiah 50:6 My people have been lost sheep:their shepherds have led them astray.

    • Jail says:

      Erika,Indeed, I have prayed. :) Since June, I have cheekcd your site to see if you have made a PDF (or some such) of your PRAY TRUTH for HUSBANDS SERIES – as I got woefully behind. Perhaps someone at Relevant is super-skilled at that sort of thing and can just whip that right out for you?!! What a gift it would be for you (something off a probably Massive To-Do List) and a gift for us, your reader!! :) Just a thought (and a hint to any Relevant Bloggers). ;) much love,HveHope

  15. Sally says:

    I get the feeling that some of the Body of Christ are still in that mode of that “we should be taking a vow of poverty” instead of being like Solomen, Abraham, Joseph etc.” The Queen of Sheba gave Solomn much wealth for his wise imput. Even Jesus had supporters to carry out his ministry when he walked the earth. If God choses to bless those who are media missionary’s why is it that the rest of the body has to discredit them. I am very careful to criticize those who are in ministry and will only do so in a way where I have the right to do so eg: in a blog where comments by the blog writer are welcomed. God says touch not my annointed.
    Everyone has to answer for themselves what they do with what God gives them.

  16. Victoria says:

    Yes, I believe that it has already been decided what everyone will receive during a lifetime. How do we react to it? This is the test. Do we act godly and share what little we have? Do we steal from the vulnerable, or do we lie and twist things for financial gain? Look at Martha Stewart- worth millions…..but she still wanted more. The only thing that did humble her was prison, and I believe she found God there too. No matter what I know God s hand is on my shoulder waiting for me to complete the destiny he has for me.
    Victoria

  17. Mark Hughes says:

    The point of this week’s blog is not really about money at all. It’s about how we treat others. The ‘rich man’ is a metaphor for how anyone of us can abuse our place of power… as a teacher, parent, boss, husband, pastor, etc. Regardless of our bank account, the Kingdom Christian should always be the ‘poor man’.

  18. Steve says:

    Good point Pastor Mark! You are very right, we all need to take the poor man’s position. It’s pretty hard sometimes, but when we let go of our need for respect or our pride, God fills us with something else that is so awesome, words cannot even describe it. If we look at Christ, He never boasted or looked down on anyone. He is definitely my hero!

  19. Steve says:

    You may be right Sally. Even David did not slander Saul but waited for God’s justice. If I was wrong for what I said even if it’s true I apologise. I must be Canadian with all the apologies I dish out.

  20. Sally says:

    Hey Steve I think being humble is a good thing and being Canadian even better! Humility is one of the best things in God’s kingdom and Canada is the best of the earthly kingdoms, apologies and all!
    Pastor Mark showed us a good example in this blog with his attempt to make an apology and to show us that the best way to live is at peace with one another in a humble attitude whether or not we are rich or poor.
    It is my hearts desire to see the Body of Christ come to the place where John 17 is a reality that we are one in Christ and that the world will know us by our love. Jesus said we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and soul and our neighbour as ourself. Sometimes our neighbour doesn’t act, look or even smell like we think they should! Loving like Jesus loved, takes total surrender. I think it is called dying to self! Something that I am still working on!

  21. Steve says:

    But then again Sally,if teachers have taken the word and twisted it and are taking away the salvation of their followers, would it not be a sin to not show people where they are wrong? Even David was spoken against when he sinned against God. By annointed, we are talking about men who are being led by the Spirit of God not by a false lying spirit. I guess it would be better to point out false doctrine itself as opposed to sound doctrine and let God reveal to people who is teaching it and who isn’t.

  22. Sally says:

    I don’t see where salvation is being taken away from others in fact I know that people are being saved.
    In most of the criticisms I have seen, it ususally is a matter of how other people are living there lives which may be contary to how we think they should be living.
    I still think that God is quite capable of doing His job of judging his servants and correcting those who are his.
    My parents had an old saying if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all. And maybe that it not the best thing but I would rather be a peacemaker than stir up discord.
    How can we come to that unity which John 17 requires of us in the Body of Christ if we are always in a position of trying to correct our brothers and sisters.
    I think our time can be better spent doing what we have to do to promote God’s kingdom here on earth. Again love covers a multitude of sins.

  23. Steve says:

    I suppose all the prophets should have just shut their mouths because they didn’t have anything nice to say. Read the Bible, it’s filled with things that don’t sound nice. And it’s not just how people are living, it’s what they’re teaching. Love hates what is evil. It does not put up with it. Jesus through over the money changer tables. Are you saying that He was sowing seeds of discord?

  24. Amina says:

    Hi,

    My name is Amina, I am a muslim woman that watches your “show” on TV every sunday and I have to say that it’s the best religious program on TV. I particularly appreciate the way you link the biblical principals to our every day lives. I guess auto derision and your example from your personal life are also a winner. I am glad your emission airs on TV so it becomes accessible to people like me who won’t go to church. It really puts a lot of thing in perspective every time I watch it.

    Many thanx for the positive messages.

    God bless you.

    Amina

  25. Sally says:

    Amen to that! I agree with you Amina , Pastor Mark does preach in a way that we all can understand it and apply it to our lives!

  26. Isaac says:

    It’s so cool how God has used the TV broadcast! I am so glad to be part of this Church.

    I think for some of us, we simply couldn’t handle extreme wealth. It would ruin us. We’d have to give it away. We’re like the rich young ruler. Some us can, and those I think God uses that part of them powerfully. I know one super-wealthy guy who does all kinds of good with the money God entrusted him with. And he acts humbly and is kind to people.

  27. Steven says:

    Hello Pastor Cupcake,

    I too appreciate your service and blog. I watch every sunday night with my wife online. Living in ontario we go to a church out here but I really enjoy listening to you and used to watch on TV but don’t get it where we live now.
    I wish more people would humble themselves and walk around with a smile on our faces, as they are contagious. I will get embarassed when i am with someone who thinks they are better then someone else. I think if that person is our friend then we should challenge them on it.

    Cheers and God Bless,

    Steven

  28. Victoria says:

    Hello my evangelical Christian family!Hope you had a nice palm Sunday like I did. My family devoted their entire weekend to God,and some that needed God. We had a great kids festival!
    My favorite part of your sermons pastor Mark is that you speak as loud as your vocal chords will allow you before the sound distorts!(props to your sound guy,too, he knows not to mess with re-verb and fancy effects.)
    YOU ARE SO AWESOME!!!!I have to try not to scream too loud when its over.
    I have a small mini hp computer that I plug in to a small 65 watt system set up in my kitchen, so as I do my dishes (by hand,I might add..) I can watch you and complete my housework at the same time. I also open all the windows,(its really mild out here) and turn the volume up so that everyone within 10 feet of my window can hear it. You can uplift the spirits of so many…I am in awe…
    Your sermon on criticism will really help someone I know heal a little and loosen up in life. I wish I could e-mail the video…but I ‘ll have to give him the link.
    As far as the blog topic goes,it’s a little like that game we all used to play when we were kids, “Telephone”….you whisper a secret into someones ear and by the time it gets back to you, it’s a little different than what you started with…..but the good news is, there are many more real topics for you to cover in your personal ministry for God! I know He is greatly pleased with you-you keep the devil on a short leash.(Oprah is the sacred cow ……of prime time television?) ;)
    Anyhow, I wish you would consider coming to Quebec for us anglicans here..(english speaking)have a wonderful Easter,Pastor Mark, know that we are all watching and rooting for you.
    P.s-In the beauty industry, we suggest lighter colors around the face to soften ones image.Black anything, will bring out shadows in our face, and make us look older than we really are. Try wearing white…
    Victoria

  29. Karen says:

    After your comment (#17) I re-read the original post, and took a good look the second time. I think that money and how we treat people go hand in hand. I often hear people say “If only I had more money, my opinion would be respected more” or “People only like me because I have money.” Human nature has a horrible habit making people think that their self worth is wrapped up in their pocketbooks or bank accounts. Sad to say, but it even works like that in church circles. Often the “poorer” constituents are over looked and the more monied people’s opinions carry more value. We need to look inside our selves and our churches first before we can change the rest of the world into having the same attitude as Christ.
    Once again, another thought provoking blog…Thank you

  30. Evelyn says:

    Thank you for reminding me how someone’s behavior can destruct the true riches in this world.

    I always see life as a house of cards. One false move and it will come tumbling down.

  31. Victoria says:

    Can’t wait for Sundays show- I’ve watched last weeks 3 times and referred it to many. Easter is a sad time for my husband as his father passed away that day. We light a candle each year now. My husband could use prayers and positive vibes as well.
    Victoria

  32. Steve says:

    Sally,I just want to say something.I just listened to a brother’s youtube video in which he had a dream.In the dream Jesus showed him how we were able to obtain mercy.By not judging others.I have been a judge of other people.Instead of judging we are to be servants.Jesus, forgive me for any judging I have done against any brother or sister or anyone for that matter.I am so greatful the Lord showed me this.

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