• Gene Benjamin II

Not Below Zero

NOT BELOW ZERO

Part 20

Nuggets of Fire Proof Investments

Proverbs 22:7, “Rich people rule over poor people, and one who borrows is a servant to the one who lends.” This is a statement of fact, but you are under no obligation to make yourself a servant to bankers, lenders, or loan sharks. Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 7:23, “You have been bought with a price, so do not become slaves of people.”

In Luke 15:11-32, Yeshuwah tells us the parable of the Prodigal Son. Verse 12 states, “and the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of the wealth that falls to me.’ So he divided his property between them.” The father evenly split his wealth, all his wealth, between his two beloved sons. This is verified in verse 31, “The father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.” The father had given up ownership of all of his assets to his two sons. But notice something, the father only gave up 100% of his assets, or his wealth. He did not go to the local banker and borrow any more money to give to his younger son to waste. The father took his personal wealth to zero, but not to below zero. He did not go into debt to support his prodigal son’s wasteful lifestyle. All people need to let that soak into their spirit.

In Luke 18:18-30, we read a real-life historical story of the rich young ruler. This young man was a commandment keeping Hebrew from his youth. This young man really wanted to inherit eternal life, that was his highest priority question to Yeshuwah. Now let’s read Yeshuwah’s response to him in verse 22, “One thing you still lack. You must sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven, and come follow me.” Notice the rich ruler’s response to Yeshuwah’s answer, verse 23, “But when the ruler heard these things, he became extremely sad, for he was very rich.” He became extremely sad, because he was extremely rich. Why did the rich young ruler not give up all his wealth and follow Yeshuwah? Because he had a stingy, selfish, greedy, covetous hard heart! He was his own idol!

But look again at verse 22 and take a hold of what Yeshuwah taught regarding wealth. It’s OK to sell ALL you have, 100% of your assets, and give the proceeds to the poor, but Yeshuwah did not instruct us to use credit cards, bank loans, loan shark loans, advance paycheck loans, etc., to give more than 100% of our wealth to the poor. Yeshuwah did not command a rich man to give more than 100% of his assets, or wealth, to the poor, but giving all you own, and then following Yeshuwah in discipleship, is a righteous thing to do. Yeshuwah did not instruct this rich young ruler to run to the bank and borrow more than he owned, or whip out his credit card, in order to give to the poor, even though giving to the poor is a great investment into the Kingdom of Yahuwah. Apparently, that rich young ruler didn’t want to give anything to the poor. Does that sound like any rich folks you know? And didn’t Yeshuwah say that giving to the poor is really giving to Him?

In Acts 3:1-8, we see a true historical story of Peter and John going to the Temple to pray around 3 p.m., the time for daily Hebrew prayers. A man lame from birth was there begging for alms from everyone going into the Temple. Now remember, Peter and John were fairly wealthy from their joint fishing business. In verse 5, the lame man was expecting money from them, because they looked wealthy to him. But Peter didn’t have any cash on him that day, but he was full of Ruach Ha’Kodesh and healed the man instead. Did Peter lie to the man about not having any cash in hand at that time? No, Peter was a brutally honest disciple of Yeshuwah. Would any amount of money have solved the lame man’s true problem? I don’t believe so. He needed healing. He received healing.

Peter and John had learned many financial lessons from Yeshuwah. Neither one of them turned from the lame begger and ran to their bank to borrow some cash to give to this poor lame man at the Temple. Apparently, they had already given away or sold everything but the clothes on their backs. Peter and John already knew the principle that they can willfully give all they have to the poor, but they should not borrow more than they own to give to the poor. That day at the Temple, they were poor in cash but rich in Ruach, so they gave what they had, not what they did not have.

Another example comes from Paul’s writing to the Corinthians about the congregation’s giving to the congregation in Jerusalem. I encourage you to read all of 2 Corinthians 8 and 9. 2 Corinthians 8:3, “For I bear witness that they voluntarily gave as much as they were able, and even beyond what they were able.” We want to stretch and grow our hearts in generous giving into the realm of miraculous supernatural giving, trusting Yahuwah to give us more than we normally have, so we can give beyond our normal means! 8:12, “For if you are eager to do this deed, it is a good and acceptable thing. It must be based on what a person has (not above 100%), not on what he does not have (do not give over 100% to go below zero or into debt).” Trust Yahuwah to give you an extra 10%, 20%, 90%, or 1,000% to add to what you already have, so you can give more than you could normally give. 8:15, “It is as it is written: “The one with much did not have anything left over (gave 100%), and the one who had little did not have any lack (this person was topped up to meet 100% of his need).”” Paul was teaching generosity and fairness in giving and receiving, even supernatural giving. It is a great test of our love for Yeshuwah. Paul balances out verse 3 with verses 12 and 15. Again, read the entire context of 2 Corinthians 8 and 9. Verse 13, Yahuwah does not want you to be burdened so someone else’s burden can be entirely lifted. Let’s move toward generosity, fairness, equity, and supernatural living. Breaking one commandment in order to fulfill another commandment is not The Way.

Our final example comes from Acts 4:34-37, “There was no person among them who lacked anything, for all who owned title to lands or houses sold them and brought the money from the things that were sold (not more than 100%) 35and laid it at the apostles’ feet. And distribution was made to each believer, according as any one had need (to top them up to meet 100% of their need). 36Joseph, a Levite, a citizen of Cyprus, was given the name Barnabas by the apostles, that is, being translated, “Son of Encouragement.”37Having a field, he sold it and brought the money (not more than 100%) and laid it at the apostles’ feet.” Barnabas gave all he had but not more than all he had. He did not go into debt to lift up his brethren. He reduced his assets by one field in order to help meet many people’s needs. That was a righteous deed.

Yeshuwah stated in Mark 8:35,“For whoever wants to save his life will destroy it, and whoever destroys his life for my sake and for the gospel, will save it.” Now we know this means it’s OK to destroy our life down to zero but not below zero. You do not have to go into debt to help people out. You should not presume on the future by using credit or debt to help someone out. Again, you don’t break one commandment in order to keep some other commandment.

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