Author: Rick Warren
Twenty years ago, the 1992 headline was simple: "Keating's sentence -12 years." The court had decided that the costliest Savings & Loan failure in history up to that time, (a $2.6 billion collapse) was the result of massive fraud committed by the former CEO Charles Keating. In addition to his sentence, Mr. Keating was ordered to pay $122.4 million in restitution. It's probably safe to assume that if Charles Keating had the opportunity to do it over again, he'd think twice about putting profit before ethics.
There's nothing wrong with making a profit. In fact, Jesus commended the man who made the highest return on his investment (Matthew 25:21). But there is a right way and a wrong way to prosper. What matters to God is not how much you make, but how you make it. You can avoid a lot of pain if you’ll follow what the Bible says about prospering:
"Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers little by little makes it grow." Pr. 13:11
"Ill-gotten gain brings no lasting happiness; but right living does." Pr. 10:2 (LB)
WRONG WAYS TO PROSPER
1. BY DISHONESTY. (deceptive buying and selling)
"The Lord wants all weights and measures to be honest and every sale to be fair."
Pr. 16:11 (GN)
2. BY DEFRAUDING. (acquiring by trickery or pretending)
"Don't hold back the wages of a hired man overnight." Lev. 19:13
3. BY DEFAULTING. (failing to fulfill an obligation)
“Let no debt remain outstanding..." Rom 13:8 "The wicked borrow and do not
repay." Ps. 37:21
4. BY DEPENDING ON LUCK INSTEAD OF GOD. (get rich quick schemes)
"The man who wants to get rich quick will quickly fail. Trying to get rich
quick is evil and leads to poverty" Pr. 28:20 & "... the one who chases fantasies will end in
end in poverty" Pr. 28:19
RIGHT WAYS TO PROSPER
1 HONEST, HARD WORK.
"Wealth from gambling quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows.
"Pr. 13:11 (LB) "Hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty."
2 WISE SAVING AND INVESTING. "The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish
man spends whatever he gets." Pr. 21:5
3 PRAYING FOR GOD'S BLESSING. "If you.know how to give good gifts to your
children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!"
4 GIVING BACK TO GOD AND TO OTHERS. "Honor the Lord by giving Him the
first part of all your income and He will fill your barns... to overflowing!" Pr. 3:9-10 (LB)
"Be generous and you will be prosperous. Help others and you will be helped..."
Pr. 11:24-25 (GN)
Until next week...
1. Most of us won’t be faced by the temptations that Charles Keating faced, but we all encounter the temptation to not give our employer our best or to use company resources for personal reasons. What impact might it have if all of Christ’s followers fully committed themselves to their work and to excellence in their work?
2. If you and God were to talk to you about the stewardship of your finances and the balance for the need for money and for the care of people, how would that conversation go? How is he strengthening you and working through you today?
3. How can you pray for each other in your small group?