A monthly column by farmer, preacher and writer for Jesus, Angus Buchan
I have systematically been reading through the Book of Isaiah and early this morning while having my quiet time, I came to Isaiah 5:8 (NKJV) which says, Woe to those who join house to house (accumulate houses); they add field to field, till there is no place, where they may dwell alone in the midst of the land! We need to be so careful that we do not become greedy.
I looked up an explanation of the word greed and it’s ‘to have more than you need.’ Remember we are not here forever, we are passing through, we are only sojourners in a foreign land. This land is not our home. We need to use enough land for our immediate needs, the needs of our families and possibly for those who derive a living through our land management, but to go beyond that, is to be putting ourselves in a dangerous position. The Lord reminds us very clearly that if we carry on just multiplying and buying up more land, property and businesses just for the sake of it, we will be driving the weaker members off the land that God has allotted to them. However, the Lord will see to it that these people who force others out, do not receive the profits they expect.
As we see the times getting harder, the drought increasing, the political situation becoming more tense, we really need to ‘cut our cloth according to our pockets,’ as the saying goes.
How much is enough? 1 Timothy 6:6 (NKJV), Now godliness with contentment is great gain. Some of the most unhappy people I’ve ever met in my travels, are those who have got more than they need. They are forever trying to look after their empires, which are dwindling, because they cannot manage them properly.
It is indeed a great tragedy for a person to build his life around riches, because as we know all too well that often we forget, everything in this world is very temporal. The thing we need to be building around, is relationships, is family, is indeed things that money cannot buy.
There is no problem whatsoever in a man developing a business, a farming enterprise, or indeed a ministry to benefit other folk, but when it becomes self-centred we then put ourselves in a very dangerous situation. The Lord says very clearly in Isaiah that He is not pleased with that. I think the most important thing at the end of the day is motive. If our motive is clear and precise, then we have no problem.
Remember, it was two extremely influential and wealthy men that took the body of Jesus Christ off the cross, when He was crucified on Calvary. Joseph of Arimathea was a wealthy man and Nicodemus was a very influential man. He was a member of the Sanhedrin (the ruling body of Israel). In fact, some of the most astute godly men that I have ever met in my life are wealthy, successful businessmen, because money, land and possessions do not dominate them. They use those privileges as tools to benefit and to grow the Kingdom of God. Mark 8:36 (NKJV), For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
So, let us be sure this year that our motives and intentions are Godly, then with all of our hearts let’s work as hard as we can.